84th Annual Meeting

Homelessness and Housing Crisis



  • WHEREAS, homelessness and severe housing cost burden are at crisis levels in cities across the country; and

    WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports more than half a million people sleeping outdoors, in shelters, or in transitional housing facilities during a point in time count in January of 2015; and

    WHEREAS, more than 200,000 of those people were in families, and 130,000 were children under the age of 18; and

    WHEREAS, the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that another 7.7 million people are living in involuntarily doubled-up housing situations and at risk of homelessness; and

    WHEREAS, the National Center for Family Homelessness estimates that 2.5 million children experience homelessness each year; and

    WHEREAS, the Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies (HJCHS) reports that the number of very low-income households that are severely rent-burdened, and spending more than half their income on rent, has increased by 35% since 2003, to over 7 million; and

    WHEREAS, in 2014, the wage a full-time worker had to earn to afford a decent two-bedroom rental home at HUD-estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR) was $18.92 - more than two-and-a-half times the federal minimum wage and 52% higher than it was in 2000; and

    WHEREAS, according to HJCHS nationally we are short 3.9 million housing units affordable to people earning 30% or less of area median income, almost a 100% increase since 2003, and 2.2 million units of publicly subsidized affordable housing are at risk of losing their affordability restrictions over the next ten years; and

    WHEREAS, while the period of 2005 to 2015 marked a growing need for affordable housing units, federal investments in critical housing development programs declined significantly, ? including a 77% reduction in USDA's Section 515 program, a 55% reduction in HUD's Section 202 program, a 62% reduction in HOME, and a 50% reduction in CDBG; and

    WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors' 2015 Hunger and Homelessness Survey noted lack of affordable housing as the leading cause of homelessness among families with children; and

    WHEREAS, many cities across the country, particularly those burdened with high housing costs, have already seen dramatic increases in homelessness and are anticipating more; and

    WHEREAS, the mayors of Baltimore, Eugene (Oregon), Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Portland, Reno, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jos ??'©, and Seattle, like others across the country, have either declared official states of emergency or called out the crisis, and have taken significant local action, including substantially increasing local funding, adopting innovative approaches and removing regulatory barriers to shelter and low-income housing development, and mobilizing the non-profit, faith, business, and philanthropic sectors to respond to the crisis; and

    WHEREAS, the success of the Obama Administration's Mayors' Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness teaches us that the crisis of homelessness can be solved, but only if local efforts are matched with adequate federal funding, federal inter-agency collaboration, and regulatory flexibility; and

    WHEREAS, HUD can take steps to help cities immediately address homelessness and housing affordability in our cities, including increasing flexibility for HUD homeless assistance to deliver more supportive housing and work with public housing agencies to streamline and coordinate the rental assistance demonstration conversation process; and

    WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors has adopted many resolutions calling for increased federal action on the issues of housing and homelessness, but the crisis in our cities demands a renewed and urgent call to action,

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration, Congress, and the federal agencies to recognize that cities face a crisis of homelessness and lack of affordable housing and that immediate comprehensive and bold federal action is needed to address this crisis; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls on the Congress to adopt the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Budget Request of $8.8 billion in housing choice vouchers and $2.2 billion in short-term rent assistance under which the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates 550,000 families would receive housing choice vouchers, providing recipients assistance in affording rent on the private market, and rapid re-housing assistance for those in danger of becoming homeless over the next decade if this funding were enacted; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to fund the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program at least at level funding of $60 million; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to fund the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at level funding or above; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to fund the HOME Investment Partnership Program at level funding or above; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration of President Obama to identify and implement measures through Executive Action and other HUD discretion that will allow cities to maximize the effective use of federal resources to end homelessness, deliver supportive housing, and create and preserve affordable housing and public housing for extremely low-income households; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that United States Conference of Mayors stands ready to join with our federal partners to provide the leadership and resources at the local level to address the crisis of homelessness and housing affordability.

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