Financial Services Committee Advances Bill to the Full House

Washington, D.C. — Today, the House Financial Services Committee advanced Congresswoman Madeleine Dean’s Coordinating Substance Use and Homelessness Care Act to help people experiencing homelessness and behavioral health issues, including substance use disorder. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) will introduce companion legislation in the Senate in the coming weeks.

The Coordinating Substance Use and Homelessness Care Act would authorize a grant program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help state and local governments, tribal entities, public housing agencies, and Continuums of Care improve their capacity to coordinate services for substance use disorder and homelessness. 

“By strengthening the connections between agencies offering health services and those offering homeless services, we will more holistically support people experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder – giving them a better chance of recovery and remaining stably housed,” Rep. Dean said. “My son’s experience battling substance use disorder helped me further understand the importance of reducing barriers and streamlining critical supportive services to prevent relapse and strengthen the recovery journey. I look forward to this needed legislation being voted on in the House.”

More than 580,000 people experience homelessness on a single night, and around 17 percent of the total homeless population suffers from chronic substance use disorder. This legislation would award 5-year grants of up to $500,000 to help eligible entities improve system infrastructure, improve technologies, and increase the availability of Naloxone. 

“The Coordinating Substance Use and Homelessness Care Act will be instrumental in breaking down the barriers between the homelessness and health care sectors so that local homelessness systems will more easily access the supportive housing services including navigation, landlord intervention, and case management that are necessary to safely and securely house people experiencing homelessness who have acute needs, including substance use and behavioral health issues. The Alliance commends Representative Dean for her leadership on this important legislation and thanks her for the careful and thoughtful process by which the bill was drafted.  We are eager to work with Representative Dean to enact her legislation,” the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) said. 

“I applaud Congresswoman Madeleine Dean for introducing the ‘Coordinating Substance Use and Homelessness Care Act,’ which builds on decades of research, learning, and bipartisan support for proven solutions to homelessness,” Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said. “The evidence is irrefutable: the most effective way to end homelessness is to provide affordable, accessible homes linked with voluntary wrap-around services, including substance use and other health services. By building our nation’s capacity to bring together housing and healthcare services, this bill can help us more effectively address homelessness.”

“The population of people without homes in America continues to change, with more and more folks needing services to address behavioral health challenges in order to end their homelessness. The behavioral health systems (mental health and substance use) and the homeless service systems continue to be siloed in most communities with difficulty accessing each other’s resources. This bill offers us a chance to break down the walls of those silos and provide low barrier housing with appropriate levels of service, to reach our most vulnerable citizens,” Christine Simiriglia, President and CEO of Pathways to Housing PA, said.

Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.