September 17, 2019

Harris: Trump’s “Counterproductive” Approach Ignores Real Solutions to Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday released the following statement as Trump administration officials visit California to discuss homelessness in the state.

“Housing is a human right – yet affordable housing remains out of reach for too many. The country is facing a housing and homelessness crisis, and there is no question that there are enormous housing challenges in California.

“It is important to understand that our country’s homelessness crisis has been years in the making and has several causes including racial inequality, rising housing costs, housing shortages, and lack of treatment for mental health and addiction.

“The White House’s suggestion that it will enlist the help of law enforcement to address homelessness in the state is counterproductive and ignores the fact that long-term solutions are required to successfully reduce homelessness. If the administration is serious about addressing this issue, they would not be pushing for $9.6 billion in cuts to critical Federal housing programs while rolling back Obama-era policies designed to increase shelter and housing for vulnerable communities, including our veterans.

“Tackling homelessness will require smart policies that help Americans afford life’s basic necessities. We must make real investments in critical federal programs to increase affordable housing, like the National Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, Rural Rental Housing programs, and Project-Based Rental Assistance. I am also proud to co-sponsor Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services Housing Act, which directs $750 million annually to supportive housing models that provide comprehensive services and intensive care management. We must also pass Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ bill, the Ending Homelessness Act, which funds critical programs needed to end homelessness in our country. And policy makers need to recognize that a long-term solution must also help people who are struggling before they lose their homes. My Rent Relief Act will help make rental housing more affordable for low-income and working families by creating a new monthly tax credit that will help the more than 21 million Americans who spend more than 30 percent of their earnings on rent. I also introduced the LIFT Act to provide working families with a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year to address the rising cost of living. 

“All families in California deserve to have a safe place to call home. Lasting progress will take continued investment and partnership on the part of local, state, and federal officials. We must make housing more affordable and accessible for all.”