Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which passed the House yesterday by a vote of 355 to 61. The legislation reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the landmark homeless assistance legislation.
"In San Francisco, there are more than 6,000 homeless men, women, and children. While the causes of homelessness are complex and challenging to resolve, the funding authorized by McKinney-Vento is critical to San Francisco and to cities and communities across the country. Reducing homelessness is the top priority for the City of San Francisco, and it is a priority for me in Congress.
"Programs created by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act have helped hundreds of thousands of homeless men, women, and children regain stability in their lives since the legislation was first authorized in 1987. The reauthorization of McKinney-Vento is a significant accomplishment that will ensure that federal funds are available to states, cities and non-profits providing services to homelessness individuals and those on the verge of homelessness.
"The HEARTH Act expands the definition of homelessness, allowing for individuals and families on the precipice of homelessness to be eligible for assistance. The legislation gives cities across the country the flexibility to use federal homeless funds to address the needs of individuals in unstable housing situations as well as the chronically homeless. The legislation also includes provisions to provide assistance for individuals fleeing from situations of domestic violence, so that they are not prevented from entering shelters because of bureaucratic red tape.
"While the City of San Francisco has developed innovative and effective initiatives to address homelessness, the city relies on the continued financial support of the federal government to operate existing programs and fund new ones. The legislation will ensure that San Francisco has access to the federal funding to provide programs for the chronically homeless as well as those at risk of becoming homeless."