October 30, 2020
Press Release

LOS ANGELES - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) introduced the Prevent Homelessness Act, legislation to combat the nation’s growing homelessness crisis. Specifically, the bill authorizes $500 million in grants annually to establish a Housing Stabilization Fund to cover expenses such as rent, utilities, legal services, and other short-term payments calculated to increase housing stability. The homeless crisis in Los Angeles has continued to worsen over the past several years. The 2020 Greater L.A. Homeless Count, conducted in January prior to the pandemic, recorded over 66,000 people living on the streets, in shelters, and in vehicles around Los Angeles County, a 12.7% increase from the year before. 

“Homelessness has been a major challenge for our community for decades and the current global pandemic and resulting damage to our economy has only made things worse,” said Congressman Ted Lieu. “But this is not just a problem for our state or region. Homelessness is a national crisis and requires a national response. The Prevent Homelessness Act would help to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place. The bill creates a $500 million Housing Stabilization Fund to help struggling Americans who may be just one month away from losing their home or one utility bill away from having their lights shut off.”

The Prevent Homelessness Act is endorsed by: National Coalition for the Homeless, United Way (California), People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), National Homelessness Law Center, Los Angeles Mission, Inc., Venice Family Clinic, The People Concern, Imagine LA

The following organizations released a statement in support of the bill:

“As one of the largest homeless service providers in California, PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) commends Congressman Lieu for introducing The Prevent Homelessness Act, which gets to the root of this complicated issue by creating a Housing Stabilization Fund. PATH supports this timely and thoughtful bill that would have a measurable impact on reducing homelessness by focusing on those most at-risk of being unhoused.” Jennifer Hark Dietz, Executive Director of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless)

“The Los Angeles Mission, Inc. is in support of The Prevent Homelessness Act. The Los Angeles Mission, Inc exists to provide help, hope and opportunity to men, women and children in need. The intent and focus of this Act will assist us in our mission to meet the needs of our community.” Troy F. Vaughn, President and CEO of The Los Angeles Mission, Inc.

“Here in the middle of the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic, Americans need #RentReliefNow, and Representative Lieu’s Prevent Homelessness Act is an important first step toward preventing the tidal wave of evictions we know will happen without assistance. Deeply targeting this program to extremely low-income households ensures those with the least safety net will benefit most from the program, delivering a huge bang-for-the-buck in saving the costs of homelessness to our public systems down the line. This is just a first step, however, and once this bill is passed we need to keep on marching with better policy until every American’s human right to housing is respected, protected, and fulfilled.” Eric Tars, Legal Director, National Homelessness Law Center

"United Way applauds Congressman Lieu for his unrelenting efforts to prevent homelessness across the United States. Pre-pandemic, homelessness presented a serious challenge. Now, it is a crisis on the verge of becoming a national tragedy. The Prevent Homelessness Act focuses on the most vulnerable 'extremely low-income households' -- who have no other options if forced out of their homes because of the pandemic. United Way urges Congress to follow Congressman Lieu's lead and prioritize legislation to prevent homelessness." Suzanne McCormick, U.S. President for United Way

“The risk of homelessness - a reality that too many overwhelmed Americans are facing - is unfortunately only growing as the pandemic continues to devastate our nation. In California, United Ways across the state have met this challenge head-on, as we do with any crisis, connecting families with supports like rent and food assistance, but there is much more to do to stem the rising tide of housing insecurity. The bill Congressman Lieu is introducing is a smart and much-needed measure to ensure we bring to bear all the resources we can to keep families housed, especially those that are struggling to stay afloat financially. We are proud to endorse these efforts and work alongside Congress to move this forward with urgency.” Pete Manzo, President and CEO of United Way of California

“We are thrilled that Congressman Lieu is taking a proactive leadership position with The Prevent Homelessness Act. Homelessness prevention, especially for highly vulnerable families, eliminates the displacement, trauma and expense associated with homelessness and instead keeps the youth on track in school, and helps the parents to stabilize and build their economic independence – it is clearly a high impact investment yielding extremely positive financial and humane ROI.” Jill Govan Bauman, President and CEO of Imagine LA

"Increasing access to funding and resources for Americans who are at-risk of losing their homes is key for preventing people from falling into homelessness, especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The People Concern is committed to ensuring all of our neighbors are housed, healthy and safe and we are pleased to support The Prevent Homelessness Act, which will provide additional funding to support low-income individuals who are struggling to pay rent. We must do all that we can to keep people housed." John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern

“Our patients experiencing homelessness show significant improvement in their health once they are stable in housing. By giving agencies the flexibility to provide solutions tailored to the needs of their community, this bill will be more effective in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. And keeping people housed will have a positive impact not only on those individuals’ health but on the health of the entire community.” Karen Lauterbach, Director of Community Programs and Advocacy at Venice Family Clinic