Edition


Vol. 57, No. 2

In this edition

by LOU ZICKAR With violent crime continuing to escalate and office occupancy rates not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels, the latest edition of The Ripon Forum examines the future of American cities in the wake of COVID-19.

Bringing the Dream of Homeownership Back Within Reach

To address rising prices and a record shortage of over 20 million homes, the senior Senator from Utah has put forward a novel solution – build more homes on federal land.

Standing Up to the Chinese Communist Party’s Aggressive Tactics

The CCP has a long history of aggresson towards any nation that impedes their quest for supremacy. To remain competitive, it is crucial out nation stands united and pursues practical solutions.

Rebuilding Our Supply Chain in the Wake of COVID-19

From cargo ships to planes, semi-trucks to trains, the pandemic brought the cracks in our supply chain to the surface. Congress must continue working to get things back on track.

Is the U.S. Tax System Rigged in Favor of the Rich?

The U.S. tax system is highly progressive. But if policymakers continue to double down on this progressivity while ignoring our nation’s debt, it could come at a cost to the American economy.

THINGS ARE DIFFERENT DOWNTOWN

We are entering a new urban epoch, with the potential to disrupt city life in ways not unlike that created in the shift from an industrial to what has become the “transactional city.”

An All-Hands-On-Deck Approach to End Homelessness

Congress has a decision to make. Will we change the way we distribute funds to fight homelessness, or will we continue to reward providers based on an ideological philosophy?

From Broken Windows to Jumping Turnstiles

With violent crime spiking in America’s cities, cracking down on people who evade fares is a necessary step to increasing safety on mass transit systems.

Hospitalizing the Homeless: For those with serious mental illness, it is compassionate to get them off the streets

We must safeguard our civil liberties, but we also must not forget abut the right of an ill person who relies on society’s conscience and protection to survive a treatable illness.

Hospitalizing the Homeless: Without affordable housing and services, the mentally ill will end up back on the streets

Mayor Adams should promote solutions that center on people, focus on connecting short-term interventions to long-term housing solutions, and promote pathways to economic mobility.

Ripon Profile of Nicole Malliotakis

New York City’s lone Republican U.S. House Representative discusses the biggest challenge facing the people she represents and the toughest vote she has had to cast on Capitol Hill.

An All-Hands-On-Deck Approach to End Homelessness

Ten years ago, the Obama Administration announced that its Housing First strategy would end homelessness by 2023. Over the decade since, the singular approach to solving homelessness would prove to be a disaster.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study, the U.S. saw a 20% increase in America’s unsheltered homeless population from 2014-2019. California, the only state in the nation to follow the Obama Administration’s lead in 2016 to fully adopt the Housing First model, saw its homeless population surge by 50% before the pandemic.

Housing First has failed because it prevents providers who require wraparound services from receiving federal funds to curb homelessness in our communities. These wraparound services are oftentimes necessary to ensuring a person can safely and fully attain permanent housing on their own. We need to abandon HUD’s exclusive reliance on Housing First in order to truly help those in our communities. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to reduce homelessness.

That’s why I’ll be reintroducing the Housing Promotes Livelihood and Ultimate Success (Housing PLUS) Act, legislation I led in the last Congress to prioritize federal funds to providers based on their record of transitioning Americans from homelessness to a path of long-term housing and self-sufficiency. This ensures we are elevating the best providers, whether they use the Housing First model, are faith-based organizations, or require participation in wraparound services such as addiction treatment or job counseling.

California, the only state in the nation to follow the Obama Administration’s lead in 2016 to fully adopt the Housing First model, saw its homelessness population surge by 50% before the pandemic.

Specifically, my proposal would prevent the HUD Secretary from prohibiting, limiting or otherwise restricting award of Continuum of Care (CoC) funds to providers because they require patients to enroll in wraparound services or because they are faith-based organizations.  To ensure these providers receive access to federal funding, my bill in the last Congress also directed the HUD Secretary to allocate no less than 30% of CoC funding to recipients that provide, or facilitate access to, wraparound services.

Expanding CoC funding to include providers who require wraparound services means we will be delivering resources to providers combating the root causes of homelessness. To meaningfully address homelessness, we must invest in reducing its main causes. Take addiction and mental health counseling as an example. Over 75% percent of homeless individuals in the U.S. are struggling with addiction or mental health issues.

Requirements that the homeless engage in services and move towards self-sustainability are reasonable, and have precedent. Pell grants require students to make satisfactory academic progress, attend classes and maintain passing grades. Unemployment benefits require recipients to look for jobs. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program generally requires beneficiaries to work or advance their education. These mandates improve recipients’ well-being and their opportunities for success.

To meaningfully address homelessness, we must invest in reducing its main causes.

America’s crisis of homelessness isn’t stemming from a lack of resources or investments. In the ten years prior to HUD’s 2019 study on homelessness, federal spending on housing assistance increased by 200%, much of it plowed into Housing First. Yet, President Biden’s blueprint plan to address homelessness calls for a doubling in Housing First funding at the federal level.

In the months ahead, Congress has a critical decision to make. Will we engineer a U-turn on how we distribute resources to combat homelessness, or will we continue to reward providers simply on the basis of fidelity to an ideological philosophy instead of their ability to get results for the Americans they serve?

Andy Barr represents the 6th District of Kentucky in the U.S. House of Representatives.