US lags in addressing homelessness—report

by Ephraim Vecina09 Mar 2016
The United States government received a poor D+ grade in the latest edition of the Human Right to Housing Report, an annual survey conducted by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP).
Factors analyzed in the report included legislation on the right to housing, as well as any enforcement that may or may not have guaranteed this right.
The NLCHP study noted that the U.S. government continues to perform below expectations in ensuring housing access for the population, especially since wider-scale decriminalization of homelessness remained to be seen.
“See how many people are being ticketed and brought in on warrants, what the average pre-trial length of stay in jail is for those charged with these violations, and what the average cost of a night in jail is,” NLHCP senior attorney Eric Tars said, as quoted by Street Roots News.
“You’ve been spending all this money to harass and incarcerate homeless people, but you’re no closer to ending homelessness,” Tars added.
Other aspects that needed tangible improvement were housing affordability (graded F by the report), renters’ rights (F), and domestic violence (C).
According to the NLHCP, possible steps by the government to address these issues include better enforcement of “Title V” of the McKinney-Vento Act (which would make unused or underused federal property available to homeless service providers), improved funding for housing accessibility programs, and increasing consumers’ purchasing power via better wages and Social Security benefits.


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