Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), a senior Member of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled legislation to reform the failed Housing First policy at a press conference at the House Triangle. The Housing Promotes Livelihood and Ultimate Success (Housing PLUS) Act of 2023 is intended to end the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) exclusive reliance on the so-called “Housing First” methodology, which recent U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness data demonstrates is a failed experiment. Specifically, this bill would prohibit the HUD Secretary from prohibiting, limiting or otherwise restricting award of Continuum of Care (CoC) funds to providers because they require wraparound services (e.g., job training, addiction treatment) or because they are faith-based organizations. The bill also directs the Secretary to allocate no less than 30% of CoC funding to recipients that provide, or facilitate access to, wraparound services outside of housing first and would require the Secretary to annually certify to Congress that HUD allocated CoC funds as directed by the bill, and report to Congress specifically how its allocation of funds met the bill’s requirements.
“Housing First prevents providers who require wraparound services from receiving federal funds to curb homelessness in our communities,” said Congressman Andy Barr. “These wraparound services are oftentimes necessary to ensuring a person can safely and fully attain permanent housing on their own. We need to abandon HUD’s exclusive reliance on Housing First in favor of an all-hands-on deck approach to end homelessness in the United States. The Housing PLUS Act will ensure that HUD grant funding is reaching providers who are helping people transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency, without unneeded restrictions.”
“I’m proud to cosponsor the Housing PLUS Act alongside my colleague Representative Barr. It’s good to see this bill strengthen wraparound services such as work requirements, addiction treatment, and faith-based provisions for organizations who rehabilitate individuals back into our society,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance.
“Homelessness is a complex problem brought on and worsened by other struggles like addiction, mental illness, physical disabilities, or economic security” said Congressman Bill Posey. “For too long Washington’s housing policies have let people fall through the cracks. This important legislation works to address homelessness at the root and connect our most vulnerable with critical community services.”
“This is an important bill and I’m grateful to be a part of it. Rather than pouring taxpayer dollars into wasteful government slush funds, we should encourage solutions that target the root of the homelessness problem and build people up rather than create cycles of dependency”, said Congressman Michael Cloud
"Housing PLUS would be the best tool we have had in the last 15 years to significantly address homelessness." Dr. Robert Marbut, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow, former Federal "Homelessness Czar
"In 2013, the U.S. instituted a seismic shift in homeless policy that failed in its promise to end homelessness in ten years, and that resulted in fatal consequences for the homeless and cities across the country. Housing PLUS will restore the lives of human beings struggling with homelessness and the cities being crushed under its weight." Michele Steeb, Senior Fellow, Texas Public Policy Foundation
“A civilization should be judged not only by its achievements, but by how it cares for its least fortunate members. Failed federal homelessness policies like Housing First are an embarrassment to our country, and Rep. Barr’s Housing PLUS Act is a meaningful step to fixing them. It’s time we stopped wasting billions of dollars on ineffective, unaccountable programs and shift our spending toward accountable and realistic ways to help the homeless.” Joe Lonsdale, the Chairman of the Cicero Institute"We strongly commend Congressman Barr for introducing a bill that ensures that housing authorities have the ability to pursue innovative solutions to homelessness. By allowing housing facilities to treat the root causes of homelessness, we can work to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and can gain access to housing for the long-term." Ted McCann, Vice President of Policy and Programs, American Idea Foundation