Ending Homelessness Is About Increasing and Expanding Affordable Housing Solutions
On December 8, 2016, Mother Jones reporter Edwin Rios published “Trump Hasn’t Said Much About Homelessness—and That’s Making a Lot of People Nervous.”
NJ has made progress on ending homelessness but this could be halted or reversed if the Trump Administration does not focus and support the goal to end homelessness.
Mr. Rios writes:
For the last six years, homelessness in America has been on the decline, thanks in part to improved federal, state, and local coordination of homeless services and increased investment in permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, and rental assistance programs, particularly for veterans. Since 2010, veteran homelessness dropped 47 percent; meanwhile, the number of chronically homeless individuals and families with children fell by more than 20 percent.
But advocates hear Trump’s calls to cut taxes and rein in government spending and are reminded of the 1980s, when drastic cuts in federal funding for low-income housing and social services set off a homelessness crisis. “We’ve never really recovered from those hits,” says Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
Trump’s so-called “penny plan” would cut 1 percent of government spending each year to pay for part of his proposed tax cuts. A fact sheet on Trump’s campaign website noted that defense and entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, would remain untouched, leaving education, environmental, health, and housing programs up for grabs. It’s unclear how much specific programs would be slashed, but the end result could be substantial: A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report in September noted that the proposed cuts would slice $150 billion from the federal non-defense discretionary budget by 2026, 37 percent less than what the government spent in 2010.
On top of the potential spending cuts, there’s the Republican promise to repeal Obamacare. For America’s poor, that could spell an end to the ACA’s Medicaid expansion program. Funds from Medicaid reimbursement have been used to support services for the chronically homeless who live in permanent supportive housing. Those services, according to Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, can help cut down on pricey emergency room visits.
The answer to homelessness is simple: we need to increase the supply of affordable housing.
This s clearly stated in the article by Diane Yentel, the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She added: “At its core, homelessness is about a lack of access to affordable housing. Ending homelessness is about increasing and expanding affordable housing solutions.”
Together we can and will end homelessness!