The hearing centered around comprehensive approaches to housing assistance programs for those experiencing homelessness in order to address the needs of all vulnerable populations.
A key theme of the hearing was a unanimous acceptance of the fact that housing affordability is a major obstacle in ending homelessness across the country.
As housing prices continue to rise across the country there has also been a steady increase in the number homeless individuals. Similarly, homelessness among the youth population has become a growing concern.
“One in thirty youth, aged 13-17, and one in ten young adults, aged 18-25, experienced a form of homelessness over a 12-month period.”
The solution to the increase in youth homelessness has been implementing workforce and community-based housing, particularly targeting foster care alumni. This is a promising approach to decreasing the homeless youth population.
Another key theme of the hearing was that rural and urban homelessness differ in that rural communities face barriers of “low wages, underemployment, lack of public transportation and geographic and social isolation.”
Therefore, rural and urban homelessness must be addressed differently. Speakers at the hearing acknowledged that although the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homeless assistance programs have been resulting in a decline in homelessness, additional federal resources and collaboration is necessary to address the urgent needs of the homeless.
This theory centers around the idea that people facing homelessness also face other related issues, for instance, the lack of healthcare or employment, and these issues must also be addressed in order to ensure permanent results in ending homelessness.
Many members of the subcommittee expressed their approval of the increase in funding for critical U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban (HUD) programs in the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill.
The support for increased funding demonstrates strong support for ending homelessness.
On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Oportunity Starts at Home.