Ranking Member Mike Quigley Statement at the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Hearing

2023-04-18 10:30

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcomittee's hearing on the fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to serve with you on this Committee and to welcome a former colleague to help us with this discussion. It is always great to see a former House colleague, especially one who shares an interest in transforming our nation’s housing infrastructure.

Madame Secretary, this nation faces significant challenges with housing affordability and homelessness. According to HUD’s most recent report on “worst-case housing needs,” nearly 8 million households in the United States, pay more than half of their income for rent, live in severely inadequate conditions, or both.

The solutions to these challenges are sometimes complex, but this subcommittee has risen to the occasion on a bipartisan basis each year to make the necessary progress to help HUD meet its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and affordable housing for all.

I am proud of the investments we made last year. We provided $58.2 billion for HUD. Which included:

  • 12,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers for low-income families and those at risk of homelessness, which help bridge the gap between stagnant incomes and rising rents;
  • 2,800 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities; and
  • $225 million for a new initiative named after former Chairman David Price to preserve and reinvest in manufactured and mobile housing.

It also included $3.6 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, a targeted increase to help homeless service providers increase the number of beds available at emergency shelters and expand permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing for the most vulnerable.

The broad reach of these investments can be seen in my own district. Just last month you traveled to Chicago to announce a $60 million award to address unsheltered homelessness. This grant will allow housing organizations to provide over 700 units of permanent supportive housing, 50 units for rapid rehousing, and expanded supportive services and street outreach.

Earlier this month, I spent the day with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) leadership touring multiple housing buildings in my district, including Britton Budd Senior Building and Lathrop Homes. These buildings had new and renovated units made possible by federal investment, and outdated and crumbling housing that is virtually unusable.

It has become evident that initiatives like the Rental Assistance Demonstration and flexibilities that empower public housing agencies to quickly respond to emergency housing needs get us a step closer to preserving our nation’s Federally-assisted housing. But so much more is needed to improve the health, safety and stability of our renters.

While we have made important strides to reduce homelessness among veterans and families with children in particular, the fight to end homelessness continues. Based on HUD’s 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment, over 1.2 million households experience homelessness sometime during the year, and the number of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness continues to rise across the country.

And these impacts can be felt beyond our housing systems. Without the necessary investments in housing - hospitals, schools and criminal justice systems bear a huge burden.

These ongoing challenges posed by the housing affordability crisis necessitate that we protect and build on our critical investments in fiscal year 2024.

And yet, there are some who want to drastically reduce funding for critical public investments. I believe we have to be clear-eyed about what this would mean for HUD programs that can be the difference between having a home or sleeping on the street for tens of thousands of families.

More funding and greater flexibility is critical to preserving and expanding our affordable housing and sustaining our communities. The alternative is taking a step back on the progress we have made to address homelessness, safety, and community revitalization.

I am pleased that you have brought before us a budget that would build on last year’s investments and continue our progress in addressing these complex challenges.  

Your proposed investments would ensure millions of Americans remain stably housed and access the support they need to build a stable, safe, and thriving future.

We look forward to your testimony, and to working with you on how we can best invest in communities in 2024. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

118th Congress