WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Quigley ( IL-05 ), who serves on the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development ( THUD ) Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after he questioned HUD Secretary Ben Carson during today's hearing:
"As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to help our constituents achieve the American dream, which for most families includes access to safe, affordable housing. Today, I questioned Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson about the potentially devastating impacts the Trump Budget's extreme cuts will have on access to housing, especially for HIV positive and LGBTQ members of society. I was perplexed by Secretary Carson's contradictory statements. He stressed the need to prioritize helping the most vulnerable among us and acknowledged that the affordable housing pie must be bigger, all while also trying to defend a 15% cut in an agency that already has thousands of deserving people on its waitlist.
"The evidence is clearstable housing is a prerequisite for people with HIV/AIDS to make substantive progress in the fight against their disease. However, the Trump Administration proposes to reduce funding to Housing for Persons With HIV/AIDS ( HOPWA ), a program that even Secretary Carson admits is promising and successful. HOPWA already serves just a small fraction of eligible households and cutting it further will imperil the lives of thousands, not to mention increase healthcare costs for those who would need additional treatment.
"It is important that the LGBTQ community know that they have allies working on their behalf in Congress, especially following the close-minded proposals we've seen from the Trump Administration thus far. Therefore, I also asked Secretary Carson about the disappearance of training documents from the HUD website meant to help homeless shelters better serve LGBTQ clients. The Secretary's answer was insufficient and unsatisfactory. I promise to follow up with HUD to ensure that those documents, or substantially similar ones with improvements, are made readily available for those who rely on them, as soon as possible."
An estimated 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. According to the 2015 US Transgender Survey, nearly one-third ( 30% ) of transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, with one in eight ( 12% ) saying they experienced homelessness in the past year because of being transgender.