Affordable Housing and Homelessness
The rising cost of housing is affecting residents from Bingen to Vancouver to Long Beach. I want working families, single professionals and seniors to be able to find good, safe housing right here in Southwest Washington.
Affordable housing also affects the issue of homelessness increasingly impacting our communities. Pricing people out of being able to afford rent or a mortgage leaves them without options.
This is one of the greatest challenges in our region – and I am employing all strategies and solutions from my role in Congress to bring more affordable housing to communities across Southwest Washington.
· SOLUTIONS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES: My bipartisan bill, H.R. 4351, encourages communities to prioritize measures that will increase housing supply and affordability. Under the bill, local governments applying for federal housing development funds through the Community Development Block Grants program would have to explain decisions not to adopt the 18 recommended pro-affordability housing policies.
· ADDRESSING THE SHORTAGE: I’m also pushing to create a task force focused on the shortage of affordable housing. My bipartisan bill brings in experts and academics to make recommendations to Congress on how best to address this crisis. The bill is called the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act, and you can read more about it here.
· COMBATING SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTION: And any discussion about homelessness would be short-changed if we didn’t talk about opioid and substance use. In Seattle, their homeless outreach team estimates that 80% of unsheltered individuals suffer from substance abuse. This sub-issue within the greater challenge of homelessness demands a strong response from all levels of government, as well as business leaders, nonprofits and the faith community.
From my role as a senior member of the committee that determines funding levels for all areas of the federal government, I’m working to put more money in place than ever before to address drugs and addiction. I supported nearly $4 billion – the largest allotment to date – to combat the opioid epidemic and the most comprehensive package of federal legislation to combat the opioid crisis through prevention, substance abuse addiction recovery and treatment, research on new, non-addictive pain medicine; and empowerment of local pharmacies. This package of bills also enforces crackdown on fentanyl and other illegal drug transport, and will enhance safe disposal and drug take-back efforts in Washington.
I’ve also been a strong supporter for State Opioid Response grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that provide flexible funding to Washington state to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services.