As our nation recovers from the 2008 economic crisis, a necessary step in continuing to improve our economy is shoring up our housing markets. This means expanding opportunities that allow for more Americans to afford homes, while also preventing a reversal to the predatory home mortgage policies of the past. We need to increase investments in Section 8 housing programs and Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers. These types of housing voucher programs have proven to be highly successful in assisting low-income families, the elderly, and homeless veterans find their own housing.
As families continue to recover from the recession and homeowners looking for employment cease to receive emergency unemployment benefits, many individuals and families could see paychecks dwindle and housing situations become jeopardized. We should ensure homeowners have adequate protections and do not lose the home equity they have built over many years. I will work towards a balance between limiting predatory or irresponsible lending, while encouraging lenders to continue to make loans that are fair and free of hidden fees and excessively high interest rates.
It is also essential that we tackle the growing problem of housing insecurity and homelessness in the Ninth District. Housing and community development are key to citizens' quality of life. We can also keep interest rates low by reducing the federal debt and improve public housing programs to help families find affordable housing.
As our country faces a national homelessness crisis, it is imperative that Congress continue to advocate for comprehensive and long-term solutions to reverse this growing epidemic. With local homeless systems operating at maximum capacity and shelters already strained, persistent economic difficulties and rising addiction trends are leading to more people being left on the streets. Providing support and adequate funding for assistance programs must remain a priority for Congress in order to ensure that all individuals and families who are facing homelessness will have a place to call home. Detailed below are programs and legislation I have supported in order to combat the homelessness crisis.
Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and end Homelessness
To reverse the trend of Americans, including a large number of families and veterans, living on the streets or without secure housing, Congress should adequately fund critical homeless assistance programs. Opening Doors, which is a comprehensive strategy designed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, includes nearly $6 billion for federal agencies and grant programs. Congressman Smith has signed on to support its continued funding in FY 2017 which include:
- Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program
- Health Care for the Homeless Program
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Program
- Grants for the Benefit of Homeless individuals (GBHI)
- Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) Grants
- The Homeless Veterans’ Program
- Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for the Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking Program
Forging Partnerships: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Programs and the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act: The McKinney-Vento grant programs and the HEARTH Act, provides assistance to identify and fund housing needs and coordinate the federal response to homelessness, while providing resources during emergency situations. I have co-signed a letter in support of full funding of McKinney-Vento Grants and implementation of HEARTH Act.
Treat the Opioid Crisis – The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA): I co-sponsored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015 because this approach is needed to address the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic which has a profound effect on homelessness. This legislation would implement better prescription drug monitoring, improved law enforcement tactics, and expanded treatment for addicts.
End the Abuse of Our Homeless Youth – The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act: Our homeless youth population is among the most vulnerable to sexual exploitation or abuse. In order to help strengthen child protection services and provide relief, the act provides street outreach, education, counseling, temporary shelter as well as transitional longer-term housing. I strongly support reauthorization of this program.
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“The “Security Minibus” appropriations bill the House is currently debating is completely disconnected from the realities that our country faces and the spending choices we must make. This spending package includes funding for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, agencies of the Department of Interior, and several independent agencies.
“Our current tax code is overly-complex; there is no question it needs reexamination and overhaul. The tax proposal released today by President Trump would be disastrous. Its almost singular focus on cutting taxes for wealthy people and companies will harm working people and undermine a healthy economy.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a mistake and would throw away the meaningful progress we have made towards increasing the quality and accessibility of affordable health care. There is undoubtedly much work still to be done to improve our nation’s health care system but I strongly disagree with Republicans’ continued efforts to repeal the law, and their attempt to eliminate essential health benefits for Americans and their families.
Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will host a Town Hall on Saturday, March 4, 2017 in Seattle. Congressman Smith is looking forward to meeting with constituents and hearing all questions and concerns.
Who: Congressman Adam Smith
What: Rep. Smith is hosting a Town Hall event where constituents can meet and interact with the Congressman and voice concerns on issues of the budget, immigration, education, the economy, national security and more.
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Congressman Smith to Host Town Hall in Seattle
The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on both our accomplishments during the last year, as well as an opportunity to consider thoughtful questions about what the future may hold.
I want to serve my constituents in any way I can. Whether you need help with a federal agency, are trying to find out if federal grants are available for your project, or are considering applying to a service academy, my staff and I are accessible for those who need assistance.
“With the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), President-elect Donald Trump has chosen a disturbingly unqualified individual for a key leadership position in his administration. The HUD Secretary has the critical role of building strong, sustainable and inclusive communities that provide access to quality affordable homes for all. Dr. Carson has absolutely no experience to even remotely prepare him for the serious responsibility of leading a federal agency that directly impacts the quality of life of so many Americans.
Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined Reps. DelBene, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Dave Reichert in sending a letter to HUD Secretary Julián Castro, following up on their letter from June 2015. The current HCV formula has been particularly damaging in areas with steep increases in rental costs, such as the Puget Sound region.
“The House Armed Services Committee is maintaining its bipartisan tradition. We worked through a lot of issues throughout the mark-up process, including a number of very controversial provisions. We crafted legislation the way it is supposed to be done. We held productive debates, disagreed, voted, and at the end of the process we passed a very significant piece of legislation.