$217 Million Increase in FY 2018 in Homelessness Assistance Critical to Ending Homelessness
A new analysis by the National Alliance to End Homelessness found almost 60,000 families with children (57,971) are homeless on any given night in the United States, according to the 2017 federal Point-in-Time count.
- Nationally, that means 7.4 out of every 10,000 families are homeless.
- But family homelessness is not experienced equally across all states.
- According to the Alliance’s report, New Jersey has lower than average family homelessness.
- Three states and the District of Columbia have rates far higher than the national average (District of Columbia: 95.0; New York: 35.9; Hawaii: 21.1; Massachusetts: 21.0).
- Five states and the District of Columbia have rates of family homelessness that are higher than they were five years ago (2012).
Despite high rates in some states, family homelessness has fallen in the majority of states, and nationwide it decreased by five percent between 2016 and 2017.
Sustaining this progress will require maintaining low rates across the South and Midwest while expanding resources and efforts in the Northwest and the Northeast. Key to this effort will be adequate federal funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, which connect families to the resources and supports they need to end their homelessness.
Despite New Jersey’s reported lower than average rates of family homelessness, no homelessness is acceptable.
The Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill needs a $217 million increase to expand the capacity to meet the needs of the homeless population and prevent homelessness.
An opportunity for this increase opened last week when Congress increased the overall spending cap levels for Non-Defense Discretionary appropriations. After a series of delays, continuing resolutions, and even a brief government shut down, Congress reached a deal on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget that also raised the spending cap for defense programs.
Critical HUD programs include:
- Funding for Homeless Assistance,
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Section 8 Vouchers) and
- HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program Vouchers.
Increasing funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants by $217 million, to a total of $2.6 billion for FY 2018, would allow 40,000 additional people to move from homelessness into housing, enough to match the increasing number of people losing housing and becoming homeless.
The line items in the federal HUD budget affected by New Jersey’s rapidly rising rents and affordable housing crisis are especially important. It is critical that funding for homelessness programs is increased by $217 million.
- The increase in funding will assist the large number of people who are expected to become homeless next year due to rising rents and evictions.
- Communities need funding for tools to prevent homelessness from rising in the face of more people being priced out of rental markets.