February 01, 2024

Poverty Task Force Leaders Urge President Biden to Address Criminalization of Homelessness in FY 2025 Budget Request

Washington, DCRepresentative Barbara Lee, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Poverty Task Force, today led members of the Task Force is a letter urging President Biden to address the criminalization of homelessness in his upcoming FY 2025 budget request to Congress.

The letter was also sent by Rep. Cori Bush, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness and Vice Chair on Criminalization of the Poverty Task Force; Rep. James P. McGovern, Vice Chair on Hunger; and Rep. Bobby Scott, Vice Chair on Education and Workforce Development.

“As leaders of the Poverty Task Force, we write to express our deep concerns regarding the growing issue of the criminalization of unhoused people across the country,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge your administration to support unhoused populations through constructive, permanent solutions of increased funding for homeless services, substances use disorders programs, and community-driven alternatives in the Fiscal Year 2025 President’s budget request. We are eager to work with your administration to develop comprehensive protocols and guidelines for federal agencies, state and local governments, and service providers to reduce police interactions with homeless individuals.”

They continued, “In December 2022, the Biden Administration set a goal to reduce homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. However, on a single night in January 2023, the 2023 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time Count found more than 650,000 people experienced homelessness – a 12% increase over 2022.  Communities of color experience higher rates of homelessness, with nearly 4 in 10 people experiencing homelessness identifying as Black African American, or African, and about 28 percent of homeless individuals identifying as Hispanic or Latino.  We commend the administration for striving to reduce homelessness rates, but with sharply rising numbers of homeless populations, there must be a comprehensive federal response that takes into account the multitude of challenges affecting unhoused communities and individuals in order to realistically reach this laudable goal.”

To read the full letter, click here.