USA Housing Bill Would Leave One Million Children Homeless/CWLA

Tom Boland (
Sat, 1 Aug 1998 17:38:51 -0700 (PDT)

Wednesday July 22, 1998

Press Release: Child Welfare League of America

Statement By David S. Liederman, Executive Director of the Child Welfare
League of America, on an Amendment to Housing Bill That Would Leave One
Million Children Homeless

WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- David S. Liederman, executive director
of the Child Welfare League of America, today issued the following

``The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill (H.R. 4194) that
includes a measure that would effectively leave more than one million
children homeless. We already face a severe shortage of affordable housing
in this country. More than 5 million households either spend over half
their income on rent or live in severely substandard housing. Raising
income limits for public housing eligibility would cause the poorest
American families to be squeezed out of the only housing they can afford.

``Nearly half of public housing residents are families with children. Many
of these families have only just begun to resolve issues and clear hurdles
that would enable them to move toward self-reliance. Denying the poorest
families with children access to public housing, at a time when welfare
reform is turning their worlds upside down, is tantamount to setting them
up for failure. If they can't get housing subsidized by the government,
where will these poorest families go? To the streets?

``Families will be thrown into the cycle of poverty and homelessness that
they've struggled to avoid. Twenty-one percent of children in the U.S. live
in poverty, and nearly six in 10 children under age 6 living with a single
mom are in poverty. The children of these families will be subjected to a
variety of social ills that could be avoided through providing a simple
housing subsidy. They will face higher rates of foster care placements,
incarceration and serious health problems. At a time when we are pressuring
families to become financially sound, why are we now discussing legislation
that would leave these families homeless?

``The unfortunate result of this add-on provision would be to force our
lowest income families out of the only housing they can afford, public
housing. This move flies in the face of efforts to move families toward
economic self-sufficiency and places these vulnerable children at
tremendous risk for numerous social and economic problems. Congress needs
to delete this misguided and harmful amendment and support housing
assistance that can meet the needs of families who need it the most.''


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