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President’s FY17 Budget Invests Heavily in Ending Homelessness

mixed-numbersLast month in his final State of the Union address, President Obama failed to mention housing policy at all. In his 2015 speech, he barely mentioned it, just giving a brief nod to the then-recent 50-basis point reduction on mortgage insurance premiums by the FHA.

The president’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (which begins on October 1, 2016) includes a historic proposal regarding housing, however. According to an announcement from HUD, the president’s budget request for $11 billion to end family homelessness in the budget, which is scheduled to be unveiled on Tuesday, February 9.

The Opening Doors program, which was the first-ever federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, was launched by President Obama nearly six years ago. While that program has made strides, there is more work to be done, according to HUD.

“Today, we can celebrate historic successes in reducing homelessness in all its forms—but we need to reach more families with the proven, cost-effective strategies that have driven that success,” HUD stated in its announcement.

In January 2010, there were 54,ooo homeless families nationwide, including 123,000 children; the Opening Doors program has reduced that number by 19 percent in the last six years. In some pockets of the country, however, the rental affordability crisis has resulted in an increase in homelessness among families, according to HUD.

With the work that has been done in the last six years since Opening Doors was launched, HUD knows more about how to end homelessness than at any time in the nation's history.

"We also know that bipartisan support for proven investments is enabling communities across the country to end homelessness among veterans," HUD said in the announcement. "When we commit together to investing in what works, we can achieve bold goals. That is why President Obama is calling for an historic investment of $11 billion over the next 10 years in community-based, cost-effective strategies that we know work. That investment will help us achieve our goal by 2020 and maintain that achievement."

HUD stated that its recent Family Option Study showed that direct access to affordable housing will be the fastest way to end homelessness among families and children and will improve their economic and social well-being at the same time.

By supporting those strategies, President Obama's FY2017 budget proposal will end homelessness with some 550,000 families and will enable communities across the country to end homelessness by 2020.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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