March 18, 2022

Senator Hirono, Colleagues Urge White House to Include $4 Billion in Homeless Assistance Grants in FY2023 Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) joined thirteen Senate colleagues in urging President Biden to include $4 billion in homeless assistance grants in his Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget so the country can make additional progress towards sheltering unhoused people and ending homelessness.

“Nationwide, nearly 600,000 people experience homelessness on any given night, and around one-third of them are unsheltered: living somewhere unfit for a person, like a car or tent,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Biden. “You have the opportunity to make historic progress towards ending homelessness by investing in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and the Continuum of Care (CoC) program with $4 billion in your FY23 budget. In the strongest, wealthiest nation on earth, we must do more to support, shelter and house our most vulnerable neighbors.”

The senators noted in their letter how the pandemic has highlighted significant holes in the social safety net, and that the unsheltered homeless population and the community service providers who support them need greater federal investment than they have received in recent years even with recent federal investments such as the CARES Act significantly increasing shelter beds capacity nationwide.

“However, outside of pandemic emergency relief measures, federal funding still has not caught up to demonstrated need,” the senators wrote. “It’s long past time that the federal government’s policies and budgets reflected that urgency – especially now with the ongoing pandemic – to safely house everyone without a roof over their head.”

Senator Hirono has previously introduced legislation that would functionally end homelessness and housing poverty by making needed investments in these and other critical programs.

The letter, led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), was co-signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

The full text of the letter is available here.