U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary

09/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/11/2019 17:36

Feinstein on White House, California Homeless

Washington-Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on reports that the White House may take action against homeless individuals in California:

'There's no question that homelessness is an ongoing problem in California. There's also no question that the federal government could play a productive role in helping address this challenge.

'For starters, the administration could endorse the homelessness bill I introduced with Senator Murkowski, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act. This bill directs $750 million a year to supportive housing models that provide comprehensive services and intensive care management.

'You see, that's how we can get a handle on this problem: housing paired with wraparound services that help address the problems that made someone homeless in the first place.

'Many of the 550,000 people nationwide who are homeless each year are families that can't afford rent. Others are veterans or individuals who have a chronic health problem. Still others may be mentally ill, have substance abuse problems or are victims of domestic violence. All these people have unique issues; that's why a one-size-fits-all approach from the White House won't work.

'We won't help these people by sweeping them off the street, and we certainly won't help them by putting them in jail. In fact, the 9th Circuit already decided that criminalizing homelessness is unconstitutional.

'Supportive housing, however, can stabilize an individual or family and change their lives. Services like mental and physical health care; substance abuse treatment; education and job training; and life skills are critical. Paired with intensive case management, supportive housing models make a difference. That's where the federal government can help, and I hope the administration comes to that realization.'

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