Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2023

Floor Speech

Date: July 21, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. MOORE of Wisconsin. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 8294, legislation that would authorize appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023 for a number of federal agencies and programs, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.

I want to thank Chairwoman DeLauro and Chairman Price, among others, for their support and leadership in putting together this strong package. While there are many good provisions in this package, I want to take a moment to highlight one of the key victories for our communities.

Americans nationwide have faced difficulties finding affordable housing long before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has exacerbated an existing crisis. As rent increases and wages stay stagnant, many members of our communities are facing the threat of homelessness.

Without stable housing, children face challenges in school, adults struggle to maintain employment, and those battling physical and mental health disorders, as well as substance abuse, lack the support they need to adequately address and treat these issues.

According to the Housing and Urban Development 2021 Annual Assessment Report, the number of sheltered individuals that identified as chronically homeless increased by 20 percent between 2020 and 2021. The report also identified that more than 326,000 people are still experiencing sheltered homelessness in the United States on any given night. Homeless Assistance Grants, like the Continuum of Care and the Emergency Solutions grants, help people who are at risk of or are currently experiencing homelessness through non-profits, community organizations, government agencies, or other providers. These programs are successfully used by state and local governments, as well as an extensive network of providers of shelter and housing services in hundreds of communities, to reduce homelessness.

I am delighted that the package that passed the House would provide $3.6 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program. Earlier this year, I led a letter, signed by 140 of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, urging the inclusion of that amount.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, like the Continuum of Care grant, have a profound impact on our communities, including my own city of Milwaukee. According to the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Continuum of Care was able to track a 77 percent decrease in people experiencing chronic homelessness over the last 10 years. This decrease was made possible through robust federal funding of supportive housing programs to end homelessness, including the Homeless Assistance Grants program.

Given the lack of affordable housing across the Nation and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, strong funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program is necessary to address homelessness and to get more people off the streets and into permanent housing. The increase in this bill is necessary and will provide much-needed resources to state and local governments to address the housing crisis. I look forward to working with the Chair and my colleagues to ensure this increase is maintained and even increased as the FY 2023 appropriations process moves forward.