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Homelessness


High housing costs sometimes force impoverished Americans to choose between shelter and other necessities such as food and medication. In 2018, there were about 533,000 Americans living in shelters, cars, abandoned buildings, with friends and relatives, on the street or in some other place not meant for human habitation. About 70% of these people live on their own or in the company of other adults. The remaining 30% are families with children. Nearly 1 in every 30, or 2.5 million American children, are now homeless in the United States. Homeless children often do not receive adequate education, nutrition or health care. Many who grow up poor and without homes are never able to escape this cycle of poverty.

A 2019 report to Congress reveals that nearly half (48%) of all homeless individuals are unsheltered. Advocates say unsheltered homelessness is caused by many factors, but can be exacerbated by a lack of accessible, low-barrier shelters. Shelter bed availability varies greatly by state. Some states (Maine, West Virginia, Kansas and Delaware) have enough beds to shelter 90% of their homeless population, while others, particularly on the West Coast, have capacity for less than half of their homeless population. Advocates say we will continue to have large homeless populations if states keep cutting services to reverse budget deficits, and if the number of low-paying jobs continues to increase. Advocates also worry the current COVID-10 pandemic will likely increase our number of homeless due to the economic disruptions preventing many Americans from paying housing expenses.

Pending Legislation: H.R.4496 - Ending Homelessness Act of 2021
Sponsor: Rep. Maxine Waters (CA)
Status: Referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
House Speaker: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA)












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Poll Opening Date
October 11, 2021
Poll Closing Date
October 17, 2021


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