On our most recent (December 6) national call on “HoUSed: Universal, Stable, and Affordable Housing,” we were joined by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who discussed how the "Build Back Better Act" would address the nation’s housing crisis. “As of right now we have secured more than $150 billion dollars investments in housing,” said Senator Murray. “It’s not everything we wanted when we started this process, but it will still deliver the largest federal investment in affordable housing in our history. It’s an important start, and we will keep fighting for more.” Senator Murray stressed the need for continued advocacy.
NLIHC’s Sarah Saadian provided updates on continued negotiations and a potential timeline for enacting the Build Back Better Act. She encouraged attendees to keep up their advocacy through emails, calls, and attending town hall meetings with their elected officials to keep pressuring members of Congress to enact the bill. Sarah also provided an update on the outlook for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations process. Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) on December 2 to maintain funding for federal programs through February 18, 2022 (see Memo, 12/6), and there is concern that Republicans will push for a full-year CR instead of enacting an FY2022 budget.
Eric Tars, legal director at the National Homelessness Law Center (NHLC), reviewed findings from NHLC’s new report, Housing Not Handcuffs 2021: State Law Supplement, which documents state laws criminalizing homelessness (see Memo, 12/6). According to the report, 48 states have at least one law criminalizing homelessness, and some states have as many as six. Eric stressed how these laws pose a barrier to people experiencing homelessness accessing housing, employment, and other resources, and suggested that funds used to enforce criminalization laws could instead be used to invest in affordable housing and other solutions to address and prevent homelessness.
NLIHC’s Research Analyst Emma Foley discussed Treasury’s October report on emergency rental assistance (ERA) distribution. According to the report, October was the first month in which overall ERA spending decreased since the program began. We received field updates from Tara Rollins and Sherri Wittwer of the Utah Housing Coalition, and Adrienne Bush from the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky.
NLIHC hosts national calls every week. Our next call will be today, December 13, at 2:30 pm ET. Register for the call at: https://tinyurl.com/ru73qan
Watch a recording of the December 6 call at: https://bit.ly/3lH89dt
View presentation slides at: https://bit.ly/3oB0peY