Lawmakers fear large number of Americans could become homeless due to pandemic

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The economic fallout from this pandemic has impacted Americans from all walks of life.

But for those who were struggling with rent or mortgage payments before the virus– it could be devastating. 

Congress is working to make sure large numbers of Americans don’t become homeless because of the pandemic. 

States like California with high costs of living were already grappling with a homeless crisis before COVID-19, and now…

“The people that were struggling with their rent and their mortgages before, are struggling even more,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., said.

Congressman Jimmy Gomez of Calfornia said it’ll take resources to make sure more people don’t end up on the streets. 

“Everything from unemployment, disability, food assistance,” Rep. Gomez said.

Gomez says those measures are especially important for people who’ve lost jobs. 

He introduced the Opportunity Starts at Home Act — to expand those benefits. 

“It’s about providing the wrap-around services they need in order to get a good paying job, to stay in their home,” Rep. Gomez said.

Kentucky Republican Andy Barr says re-opening the economy is the best tool to prevent homelessness. 

“Nothing can replace getting people back to work, and getting kids back in school so people can take care of their mortgage,” Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., said.

Sadly, many people struggling with homelessness are veterans, and about thirty percent of all homeless vets live in California.

“Our veterans need us to serve them as well as they’ve served our nation,” Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., said.

Congressman Mike Levin says he’s working to provide veterans’ with rapid job re-training, and housing benefits. 

He says he’d like to see the $17 billion marked for the VA in the Cares Act put to use. 

“I pushed the VA secretary to release more of the funds, specifically around homelessness,” Rep. Levin said.

Thursday, the VA secretary did release $400 million for veteran housing. 

Levin says he’ll continue to push for more. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories