Housing and Homelessness

“Housing is a fundamental human right. And right now, too many members of our community are struggling to put and keep a roof over their heads. There are many ways Congress and the federal government can work with local communities to address these urgent challenges – and we must do so."

–  Rep. Adam Schiff

 

California has always been a beacon for our nation’s adventurers, innovators, dreamers, and doers – and Adam wants to ensure it can remain that way for generations to come. Adam believes the federal government must do more to help states and localities solve the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness, and throughout his time in Congress, he has fought ceaselessly to bring home millions in funding for affordable housing, supportive services for unhoused Southern Californians, and direct assistance for renters and homeowners. Adam is continuing to work with local communities to come up with creative solutions to address homelessness and housing affordability.  


 

Providing Emergency Housing Assistance in Federal Coronavirus Relief Legislation

The dual health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for renters, homeowners, and our unhoused neighbors. And throughout the course of this pandemic and before, Adam has fought tirelessly for the federal assistance necessary to mitigate these challenges.  Adam urged House leadership to provide more than $100 billion in direct assistance to renters, homeowners, and homeless service providers facing insecurity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of which was eventually included in the final bills.  Adam also championed protections against evictions and foreclosures, rallying on the steps of the Capitol to extend the eviction moratorium and voting in favor of these important provisions when they were passed by the House in June 2020.

Adam also strongly supported the housing provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, which was signed into law in March 2020. This relief package provided more than $7 billion in emergency funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs to help low-income and working-class individuals avoid housing disruption caused by loss of employment or childcare, health crises, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19. In addition, the CARES Act included mortgage forbearance for homeowners and eviction protections for renters in all properties with federally backed loans, as well as direct relief payments and expanded unemployment compensation to help families meet their housing expenses.

Adam continued to advocate for strong housing assistance in 2021, which saw the passage of the American Rescue Plan. This historic package included an additional $45 billion for federal affordable housing, homelessness, and mortgage assistance programs to prevent evictions and foreclosures, provide rapid rehousing, and operate emergency shelters.  

 

Addressing the Homelessness Crisis

Adam is deeply concerned with the crisis of homelessness across California and Los Angeles. Since coming to Congress, he has fought for increased federal funding to support state and local government and community organizations that are working to get struggling Californians back on their feet and into their homes.

Adam believes that we must address the root causes of homelessness by providing supportive housing and services, which is why he has advocated for federal support for organizations that provide outreach, services, and permanent housing programs. He has also supported federal efforts – like Housing Choice Vouchers – designed to make housing more affordable for every American, not just those who’ve been unhoused.

Adam is also an original cosponsor of the Ending Homelessness Act, which would appropriate more than $13 billion in emergency funding for federal housing and homelessness initiatives to ensure that the federal government’s response to the homelessness crisis matches the scale of the problem. He believes that we have the resources and capacity to end homelessness, but that such an undertaking will require federal investment and leadership.

 

Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housing

Families around the country, and especially in California, face a pronounced shortage of affordable housing options. Housing has become particularly unaffordable in Southern California neighborhoods and, as the cost of rent outstrips income growth, more families will be in danger of becoming unhoused.

In February 2020, Adam introduced the Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act, which would create new tax incentives to help nonprofits and public agencies acquire property to use as homeless shelters or affordable housing. This legislation would provide tax benefits to property owners who sell to public and nonprofit housing developers who agree to operate the property as affordable or homeless housing for at least thirty years. In communities with expensive real estate markets, like Los Angeles, this new incentive will provide public agencies and nonprofits who develop affordable and homeless housing an added advantage as they compete with private developers to acquire property.

Adam is also a longtime supporter of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher program, which subsidizes rent for low-income families. He has fought to ensure that this program and others like it are adequately and consistently funded. He has also worked with local Housing Authorities to make these programs easier to administer and receive, particularly for tenants who have moved from one jurisdiction to another.

 

Combating Housing Discrimination

In May 2019, Adam joined his California colleagues in opposing proposed rules by the Trump administration that would prevent households with immigrant family members who do not have legal status in the U.S. from receiving federal housing assistance. In Los Angeles, this proposal was estimated to negatively impact more than 11,500 residents.

Adam is also a co-sponsor and strong supporter of the Fair Housing Improvement Act to protect people who rely on federal vouchers to pay rent from housing discrimination. Already, low-income families and veterans must endure exorbitantly long waiting periods to receive federal housing assistance. And even still, some of them are later turned away by landlords for no other reason than the fact they receive government aid. That is a form of discrimination that only perpetuates cycles of poverty and homelessness, preventing families from moving into neighborhoods with better schools and job opportunities. And, for communities of color that have been persistently excluded from housing opportunities, the ramifications of this discrimination and its subsequent economic disparities can be felt for generations.

 

Fostering Homeownership

Adam believes homeownership is one of the most important ways to build wealth and a brighter future, and has hosted events in the district and supports federal programs to foster homeownership, particularly for first-time buyers and veterans.

In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, Adam fought to address the foreclosure crisis and hold financial institutions accountable for their greed and negligence. Throughout 2008 and 2009, Adam advocated for hundreds of constituents seeking to avert foreclosures, helping them take advantage of federal support and resources. Similarly, during the coronavirus pandemic, Adam has vigorously supported mortgage forbearance, as well as direct relief payments to support homeowners struggling to stay afloat during the economic crisis.   

 

Securing Robust Federal Support for Housing Programs

Throughout his time in Congress, including as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Adam has consistently fought for robust funding for federal housing programs. Most recently, Adam urged the Congress to provide more than $31 billion in funding for federal housing programs.

For many years, Adam has prioritized federal funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program, which provides housing support for persons with AIDS and related illnesses. This year, Adam requested $600 million for the program, and at the end of July 2021, the House passed a funding bill providing such an amount.

As an appropriator, Adam has also prioritized funding for programs in annual funding bills, such as:

  • Tenant-based Rental Assistance: Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are a form of tenant-based rental assistance funded by the federal government. Adam requested $25.9 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance for 2022. The House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill provided $29.2 billion.

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program: HUD-VASH provides homeless veterans rental assistance in the form of Section 8 vouchers from HUD and supportive services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Adam advocated for the maximum amount of funding for the program and the House passed appropriations bill provided $25 million for HUD-VASH for 2022.

  • HUD-HOME Investment Partnership: The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is a housing block grant program administrated by HUD and designed to expand the supply of decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. Adam requested at least $1.7 billion for the program for 2022 from the Congress. 

Adam has also sought federal support for local organizations, securing specific funding for Union Station Foundation in Pasadena, for example, and working with others in the Los Angeles delegation to allow the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus to be redeveloped into affordable housing.