Congressional Homelessness Caucus Hosts Briefing
On May 20, 2014, the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), hosted a briefing on the impacts of the lapse of emergency unemployment insurance (UI) on families at risk of losing their housing.
The participants on the panel included:
- Cara Baldari, Senior Policy Director and Legal Counsel at First Focus;
- Sharon McDonald, Director for Families and Youth at the National Alliance to End Homelessness;
- Jerry Jones, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless; and
- Harry Swain, faces of the homeless speaker.
“As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, I am particularly alarmed at the impact of the lapse in emergency unemployment insurance on families living paycheck to paycheck. Too many Americans are in dire risk of exhausting their savings, losing their homes, and ending up on the streets. This program is a lifeline for millions and it is critical that Congress acts quickly to bring relief to those who have seen their benefits expire,” said Hastings.
“The lapse of unemployment benefits will have devastating effects on the millions of working families through the country that are working hard to keep food on the table. It is critical that Congress extend Unemployment Insurance immediately to avoid pushing more and more families into homelessness,” added Johnson.
“One third of unemployed Americans, 3.5 million individuals, have been without a job for 27 weeks or longer. It is estimated that just last year, less than one in four Americans had enough savings to cover six months of expenses after losing a job. Allowing men, women, and children to live on the streets is not a standard America should be willing to accept.”
Since UI expired in December 2013, approximately 2.7 million Americans have seen their benefits run out. Approximately 72,000 people continue to lose their benefits every week.