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Testimony of Alliance CEO, Ann Oliva, to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs at the “Opportunities and Challenges in Addressing Homelessness” hearing on July 19, 2022.
I want to commend this Subcommittee for the housing-related relief measures enacted during the pandemic. I will talk about the positive results of those investments momentarily.
Challenges and Affordable Housing
Because we are facing daunting challenges.
- Rising rents and low availability make finding and keeping permanent housing more difficult for homeless and at-risk people.
- Homeless systems consistently report significant staffing challenges like staff shortages, high turnover and burnout.
- Linking mainstream health and behavioral health services with housing can be a challenge.
- And criminalization of people experiencing homelessness is rising.
But we know what works.
Making evidence-based policy decisions in addition to sustained investments in housing and services at the national level is critical. This includes protecting the affordable housing stock we have, increasing supply, increasing affordability by expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program and making the services that people want and need more accessible.
And further, it means supporting evidence-based approaches to ending homelessness for individuals and families that prioritize permanent housing and choice as the foundation for healing from the trauma of homelessness. It also means partnering with people who have lived experience of homelessness so the changes we make are informed by real-world and practical expertise.
The information we have tells us that the public wants and end to homelessness not by criminalizing people, but by implementing sound housing and service solutions so that people can thrive. We know how to do that.
Most Continuums of Care we surveyed believed that unsheltered homelessness has increased.
Read the full article about addressing homelessness by Ann Oliva at National Alliance to End Homelessness.