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Homelessness and the 2016 Presidential Campaign

  • Our Goal is to use the 2016 presidential election process to make the issue of homelessness a political priority so that the next President will put our nation on track to fixing the affordable housing crisis and ending homelessness in America.

    Accountability starts now, as the candidates are campaigning. There has been significant national discussion of income inequality, and to some extent anti-poverty measures. But few are talking about the crisis of millions of Americans who sleep on the streets each year. Join us in asking each candidate what they will do to create affordable and accessible housing for all!

  • The following states have measures on the ballot relating to homelessness:
    California District of Columbia Florida Georgia Massachusetts New Jersey New York
    Presidential candidates on homelessness:

    Democratic Party:

    Hillary Clinton
    On a briefing in regards to LGBT issues, as President, Hillary Clinton stated she would combat youth homelessness. Clinton will work with Congress to ensure adequate funding for safe and welcoming shelter for homeless youth

    On September 21st, 2016 Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled: Hillary Clinton: My plan for Helping America's Poor. In this op-ed Hillary Clinton talked about her plan to address poverty and the affordable housing supply.

    She stated: If we want to get serious about poverty, we also need a national commitment to crate more affordable housing. This issue doesn't get much election-year coverage, but it's a big deal to the 11.4 million American households that spend more than half their income on rent. Too many people are putting off savings for their children or retirement just to keep a roof over their families' head.

    My plan would expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits in high-cost areas to increase our affordable housing supply, and fuel broader community development. So if you are a family living in an expensive city, you would be able to find an affordable place to call home and have access to the transportation you need to get to good jobs and quality schools.

    On January 30th, 2016 the Respectability non-profit asked all of the presidential candidates to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues

    Question 13: do you have a plan for affordable housing and to reduce homelessness for PwDs (People with Disabilities)?

    Answer 13: "Yes... I will [move] decisively to end homelessness of veterans with disabilities by building on successful initiatives and expanding programs that help ensure long-term success, including leveraging federal resources to support community-based organizations that focus on reducing veteran homelessness; expanding complementary programs and outreach to prepare veterans with disabilities for independent living; and addressing the needs of homeless women veterans and homeless veteran families by clarifying language to the Fair Housing Act that removes ambiguities in the law regarding gender-and family-specific housing. And I will work with Congress to ensure adequate funding for homeless-prevention resources, emergency housing and safe shelter for all homeless youth."

    Tim Kaine
    Co-introduced The Family Unification, Preservation and Modernization Act which would improve supportive housing programs that integrate housing with social services and polices for children and families at risk of homelessness, keeping families together who might otherwise enter the child welfare system. It would also increase access to social services for youth aging out of foster care as they transition to adulthood

    On November 10th, 2015 U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that Harrisonburg, Virginia will receive a $96,700 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funding will be awarded to public housing agencies to provide affordable housing and rental assistance to homeless veterans

    On March 8th, 2016 U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Time Kaine announced that over $23 million will be awarded to promote ending homelessness in Virginia through the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) program.

    Kaine stated, "We must stay vigilant in the fight to end homelessness, and today's federal funding will aid the efforts of many organizations across Virginia who are on the front lines providing help and shelter to those most in need."

    On July 1st, 2016 U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announce that the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (V-A) will award $166,336 to Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority to help homeless veterans find affordable stable housing

    Green Party
    Jill Stein

    Jill Stein has a facebook page called: Jill Stein for the Homeless

    Ajamu Baraka
    During the Green party's convention Ajamu Baraka said; "There are millions of people who still don't have a place to lay their head at night. there's a reason why the fastest-growing population of homeless people are black women with children. There are millions of people who would like to have a job where they can live a decent life, but they  don't have it. And if they have a job, that basically they are making starvation wages; they're working two and three different jobs to make ends meat."

    Ajamu Baraka spent the night outside of Baltimore Healthcare for the Homeless. To see the video please click here.

    Libertarian Party:
    Gary Johnson


    William Weld
    While Governor of Massachusetts, Gov. William Weld brought the number of homeless families living in motels down to zero

    Republican Party

    Donald Trump

    In the summer of 1982 in the book, The Art of the Deal, Donald recalled, "One morning, after passing several homeless people sleeping on benches in Central Park, I got an idea. I had more than a dozen vacant apartments at 100 Central park South. Because I still planned to demolish the building, I had no intention of filling the apartments with permanent tenants. Why not, I thought, offer them to the city for use by the homeless, on a temporary basis?  Some people think I'm just doing a number on the people in the building... [that's] not true. I just want to help with the homeless problem. It'll take two or three years to get everybody out, and in the meantime I'll have more and more vacant apartments for the indigent." 

    Mike Pence
    As Governor of Indiana, Pence provided zero state funding for homeless shelters


  • Homelessness affects all of us! We all have been there, or have family members or friends who have been without a home due in some part to the lack of affordable housing. People who are unhoused are woven into the fabric of our community, and we need to hold our elected officials accountable to all of our citizens.

    As the presidential campaigns go into the home stretch, please take this time to become actively involved in the debate. Contact your candidate and their offices to answer the questions of how they would end homelessness in your town, county, cities, state and this country.

    Be sure to update your voter registration.

    Work to help others register.

    Support your neighbors or clients who are homeless or have low-incomes access the polls!

  • It is critically important for all of us to understand the root causes of homelessness and extreme poverty so that we can work towards a permanent solution.

    Main Causes of Homelessness

    1. Stagnant or falling incomes or less secure jobs with offer fewer benefits (lack of livable wage jobs)
    2. Decline in Public Assistance
    3. A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness
    4. Lack of affordable healthcare
    5. Domestic Violence

    Here are some common terms used that you may encounter when talking with elected officials, or candidates for office, about homelessness:

    • Point in time count: are unduplicated one-night estimates of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. The one night counts are conducted by Continua of Care nationwide and occur during the last week in January of each year.
    • Continuum of Care: are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating the full range of homelessness services in a geographic area, which may cover a city, county, metropolitan area, or an entire state
    • Sheltered homeless: are individuals who are staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs or safe havens
    • Safe havens: provide private or semi-private long-term housing for people with severe mental illness and are limited to serving no more than 25 within a facility
    • Emergency Shelter: if a facility with the primary purpose of providing temporary shelter for homeless people
    • Transitional Housing: provide homeless people a place to stay combined with supportive services for up to 24 months in order to help them overcome barriers to moving into and retaining permanent housing
    • Chronically homeless: are unaccompanied homeless individuals with disabilities who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years
    • People in Families: are people who are homeless as part of households that have at least one adult and one child
    • Individuals: are people who are not part of a family during their episode of homelessness. They are homeless as single adults, unaccompanied youth or in multiple-adult or multiple-child households
    • Unaccompanied youth: are people who are not part of a family during their episode of homelessness and who are between the ages of 18 and 24
  • In 2010 the Obama Administration released Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in America. This comprehensive plan laid out a bold agenda to prevent and end homelessness with four goals as its focal point. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has collaborated with federal, state, and local partners to work towards meeting these goals:
    1. Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children by 2020
      • A 2012 amendment to the Federal Strategic Plan added an emphasis on obtaining more comprehensive information on youth homelessness and on developing effective interventions for the different subsets of youth experiencing homelessness, including youth under 18 and youth between the ages of 18 and 24. Unaccompanied homeless youth have high rates of exposure to trauma.
      • Progress: There is still a lot of work to be done to accomplish this goal
    2. Prevent and end homelessness among Veterans by 2015
      • The 2015 update of the Federal Strategic Plan did not extend the date for achieving this goal. A new operational definition of ending homelessness clarifies that the number is not expected to reach zero for any particular group. Rather, communities should have systems in place to ensure that people newly becoming homeless have a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience of homelessness and one that keeps them safe.
      • Progress: Veteran homelessness has declined by 36% between 2010 and 2015.
    3. End chronic homelessness by 2017
      • To achieve this goal the date was extended from 2015- 2017, which reflects the need for additional resources such as more permanent supportive housing for people with chronic patterns of homelessness.
      • Progress: The number of individuals experienced chronic homelessness declined by 31% between 2010 and 2015
    4. Set a path to ending all types of homelessness
      • There has been significant progress since the policy was implemented, however there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Need Help?

Find information and resources if
  • You or your family is currently homeless
  • You or your family is in danger of becoming homeless


Find more information on topics ranging from Criminalization to How to Get Involved:
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