The “Ending Homelessness Act of 2017” would invest $13.27 billion over five years to address the shortage of affordable housing and to combat homelessness.
The bill would provide $1 billion annually to the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the first new affordable housing program in a generation targeted to those most in need, and $50 million each year for rental assistance to be used in conjunction with HTF housing. The bill would provide 410,000 units of new affordable housing for the lowest income households.
Details on how the funding would be targeted are outlined below:
$5 billion over five years for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
This funding is estimated to provide an additional 85,000 new permanent supportive housing units, which should effectively eliminate chronic homelessness across America.
A revised funding formula would ensure that funding is distributed more accurately to communities based on need.
While this funding would prioritize permanent supportive housing, it can also be used to fund all eligible activities under McKinney-Vento, including transitional housing, rapid rehousing, and emergency shelters.
$2.5 billion over five years for new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
This funding is estimated to provide an additional 300,000 housing vouchers, and would give preference to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless on an ongoing basis.
This also includes increased administrative fees (up to 10 percent) to public housing agencies to ensure that there is sufficient capacity help place homeless households.
In the first 5 years, this funding is estimated to create 25,000 new rental units that are affordable to extremely low income households, with a priority for housing the homeless.
Tenants living in these units would not pay more than 30 percent of their adjusted gross income.
$500 million over five years for outreach funding
This funding would be provided on a competitive basis to jurisdictions to provide case management and social services for homeless or formerly homeless persons.
$20 million for HUD’s Healthcare and Housing (H2) Systems Integration Initiative (one-year)
This funding would expand the H2 initiative, which provides technical assistance to help state and local governments coordinate their healthcare and housing initiatives.
In addition to providing more affordable housing, the bill would fund outreach and case management to ensure homeless people are connected to the services they need and would help states and local jurisdictions better align their healthcare and housing interventions.
It would also permanently authorize the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness—both of which are essential to ensuring homeless people have access to emergency shelter and services, transitional housing, job training, primary health care, and education.
The lack of affordable housing has reached crisis proportions in the U.S.
These households include seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and families with children. Only 35 affordable homes are available for every 100 ELI renter households nationally, and a shortage exists in every state and major metropolitan area in the country.
Seventy-one percent of ELI renter households spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities. Extremely low income renter households face impossible choices between paying for rent and covering other basic necessities like food and healthcare. Too many end up homeless.
NLIHC and Monarch Housing applaud Representative Waters for this legislation and encourages other lawmakers to cosponsor the bill.
“The solution to homelessness is an affordable home, and the Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 provides a critical investment in affordable homes for people with the greatest needs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
“Having an affordable place to call home transforms lives—giving people the stability they need to achieve economic mobility, improve their health, and allow children do better in school. And investing in affordable housing creates jobs, strengthens communities, and spurs economic growth. We applaud Representative Waters for this landmark legislation.”