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Sen. Hirono, colleagues urge inclusion of $4B in homeless assistance grants in 2023 budget

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Shopping carts used by homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. File photo by Wendy Osher.

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) joined 13 Senate colleagues in urging President Biden to include $4 billion in homeless assistance grants in his Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The funds are aimed at making additional progress towards sheltering unhoused people and ending homelessness.

“Nationwide, nearly 600,000 people experience homelessness on any given night, and around one-third of them are unsheltered: living somewhere unfit for a person, like a car or tent,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Biden. “You have the opportunity to make historic progress towards ending homelessness by investing in Emergency Solutions Grants and the Continuum of Care program with $4 billion in your FY23 budget. In the strongest, wealthiest nation on earth, we must do more to support, shelter and house our most vulnerable neighbors.”

The senators noted in their letter how the pandemic has highlighted significant holes in the social safety net, and that the unsheltered homeless population.

“Outside of pandemic emergency relief measures, federal funding still has not caught up to demonstrated need,” the senators wrote. “It’s long past time that the federal government’s policies and budgets reflected that urgency – especially now with the ongoing pandemic – to safely house everyone without a roof over their head.”

The letter, led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), was co-signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

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