Report: 44 States Fail to Meet Major Homeless Housing Standards

Forty-four states failed to meet a federal mandate to provide affordable housing to over 20 million people who did not qualify for public benefits, according to a new analysis from the National Association of…

Report: 44 States Fail to Meet Major Homeless Housing Standards

Forty-four states failed to meet a federal mandate to provide affordable housing to over 20 million people who did not qualify for public benefits, according to a new analysis from the National Association of State Housing Agencies (NASHA).

The group analyzed all the public sources of housing assistance from 2007 through 2016, and found that the federal government provides $750 billion annually to grant and contract public assistance programs, but only spends around $160 billion on a wide variety of housing projects and programs designed to help low-income, homeless, and at-risk persons.

The federal government’s meager allotment of funds, along with some states’ and communities’ neglect to spend those funds on public housing, means that, according to NASHA, that 13.4 million people are not getting the basic necessities of life. As this year’s National Weather Service count shows, an estimated 62.8 million people in the United States are homeless.

“Given the federal government’s greatest funding commitment to housing, it is essential that states and cities step up and provide affordable and adequate housing for households on whom the government is obligated to provide assistance, such as senior and disabled citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, recent immigrants, and families with children who would otherwise fall into poverty,” NASHA said in a report.

The report’s author, John Makin, noted the constraints on government housing programs in a recent speech on the issue at NASHA’s national conference in Washington, D.C.

“With a shrinking federal commitment to housing, our states are left to pick up that budget responsibility, and many, many states and municipalities do not have the funds to absorb the challenge,” Makin said.

In the eight years of the center-right American Legislative Exchange Council’s research, states and municipalities spent about $800 billion on housing services, but spent only about $75 billion of that on housing housing.

“The expectation of cities is that all the cities in the country are going to compete to win this grant,” he said, suggesting that an ongoing effort to adopt budgets should strive to replace public housing budgets with programs that target at-risk and poor households.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity,” he added.

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