Who -- exactly -- is homeless?The federal definition of homelessness could be changed to include individuals and families living in motels and doubled-up situations.
But the current proposal would cover these people only if they have moved 2 times within 21 days or 3 times in the past year. Requiring families to move on multiple occasions to qualify for HUD homeless assistance creates incentives that would be harmful to children and families. How about some more flexible language that would cover individuals and families "with a history of residential instability"?
Neither Mel Martinez nor Bill Nelson are among the bill's co-sponsors, although Martinez* is a member of the Banking Committee, which is scheduled to consider the issue tomorrow.
Call their offices and ask for the staffer person who works on housing issues. Tell the staffer to ensure that Senate Bill 1518 protects everyone who is homeless, by amending the HUD definition of homelessness to include people living in hotels or motels and doubled-up living situations with a history of residential instability, instead of including language that specifically forces homeless families to move multiple times in order to get housing assistance.
For more information on how the bill will assist communities across the nation in ending homelessness, click here.
* He's also a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.