President Donald Trump recently set aside another $3 billion to help homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic. But experts say the most recent financial injection isn’t nearly enough money, Newsweek reports.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $2.96 billion in grants that would help support homeless people and people on the verge of becoming homeless.
The Emergency Solution Grants can be allocated to “support homeless Americans and individuals at risk of becoming homeless because of hardships such as job loss, wage reduction, or illness due to COVID-19,” according to Newsweek.
Trump tweeted the grants would help take care of the country's "most vulnerable citizens."
Another $1 billion in similar grants were already distributed as part of the CARES Act.
But groups advocating on behalf of the homeless population say the $4 billion set aside so far is not enough money.
Steve Burg, vice president of programs and police for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, told Newsweek that another $11.5 billion would be needed to support the homeless population throughout the pandemic.
He said the $4 billion allocated so far was a “substantial amount of money, but I wouldn’t say that it’s enough.”
He said the entire homeless shelter system needs to be reconfigured because of the virus. People need to get out of living in shelters and on the streets.
He also said $100 billion is needed in order to help people pay rent and prevent people from becoming homeless.
“There are millions of people who are not going to have the money to pay rent who are in danger of becoming homeless,” he said.
Executive Director at the Institute of Global Homelessness Lydia Stazen also said more money would be needed to help the homeless population. She, too, estimates another $11.5 billion is needed, citing a study conducted by academics at several universities.
She praised how other countries have acted to help their homeless populations during the health crisis and said she hopes the U.S. can step up its efforts.
"It is my hope that the U.S. will also use this pandemic to radically transform the way we address homelessness, and reverse the rise in homelessness we have seen here over the past three years," she said in a statement to Newsweek. "Other communities and countries have done it; we can too."
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