September 27, 2023 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Act, legislation focused on addressing the intersecting crises of homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorder by increasing support for millions of low-income Americans on Medicaid. The bill directs the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Treasury Department to issue joint guidance to state Medicaid agencies on how to connect Medicaid beneficiaries to housing-related services and requires HHS to conduct a study on the national cost of housing-related services and supports. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are cosponsoring the bill.
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)
In 2022, more than half a million Americans experienced homelessness. Supportive housing works by providing evidence-based practices to ensure more people can access wraparound medical and housing services and guarantee health care providers are paid a fair wage.
“Far too many people who lack access to the health care they need face housing instability and homelessness. In order to tackle these challenges, we must step up to provide significant federal support for community organizations on the frontlines of the crisis,” said Senator Padilla. “State Medicaid and Housing agencies need direct, cohesive guidance in order to work together to ensure Medicaid recipients receive the housing assistance they need. Our legislation will better integrate care across these agencies, connecting Medicaid beneficiaries with housing support resources and helping put money for housing back in their pockets.”
“Housing is a human right, and health care is a human right. Yet, we’ve left far too many without the housing they need to stay healthy or the health care they need to stay housed. We must empower local communities to use every resource Congress gives them to tackle the intersecting health care and housing crises by cutting the red tape and clearing the path forward,” said Senator Markey. “Our legislation ensures that no resources to tackle this crisis are left unutilized – all while ensuring that our community health and housing-related providers make a living wage. I thank Senator Padilla for his partnership in working to build a better future for families across our nation to access affordable housing and supportive services.”
The Housing ACCESS Act is endorsed by A Way Home America, All Home CA, Avalon Housing, Bay Aging, Beacon, Inc., Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Brooklyn Community Housing & Services, Inc., Camden Coalition, Cardea Health, Central Community Development Corporation, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Commonwealth Land Trust, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, The Courtyard, Child Welfare League of America, Citrus Health Network, Community Service Center of Morgan County dba WellSpring, Community Solutions, Continental Management, Cornerstones, Corporation for Supportive Housing, COTS, Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), Downtown Women’s Center, ECHO Housing, Englewood CDC, Extended Housing, Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Georgia Supportive Housing Association, Inc., Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Harrisonburg Redevelopment Housing Authority, Heart of Florida United Way, Help of Southern Nevada, Horizon House, Helping Veterans and Families (HVAF), Housing Action Illinois, Housing Partners of Florida, ICAN Housing, Illinois Supportive Housing Providers Association, Lamb Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporation/National Equity Fund, LTHC Homeless Services, Inc, Lynn Shelter Alliance, Massachusetts Association of Mental Health, Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA), National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Nevada Homeless Alliance, Nevada Housing Coalition, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing, People Assisting the Homeless, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Pine Street Inn, River City Housing, Soldier On, Shiver Center on Poverty Law, Somerville Homeless Coalition, Summit Manor Inc., Supporting Housing Providers Association, Sycamores, Texas Homeless Network, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, VERA Institute of Justice, Veterans Inc., Virginia Housing Alliance, Vitalyst Health Foundation, Vocal Virginia, Volunteers of America Mid-States, Inc., Volunteers of America – Chesapeake & Carolinas, Volunteers of America – Ohio and Indiana, Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness, Women’s Lunch Place, Youth Collaboratory, St. John Center, Pathways to Housing PA, Winged Wolf Innovations, Action Housing, The National Homeless Law Center, Project Home, United Way of Greater LA, UPHoldings, Center City Housing Corp, Housing California, Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), and Illinois Supportive Housing Providers Association.
Since joining the Senate, Padilla has been a steadfast supporter of efforts to address the homelessness and affordable housing crises in California and across the country, including through the introduction of his comprehensive Housing For All Act. During National Recovery Month, Padilla, Markey, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote a letter to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), calling for increased oversight of interagency coordination and the implementation of a pilot program to provide mental health, substance use, and other supportive services for people experiencing homelessness, at risk of becoming homeless, or living in HUD-assisted housing. Padilla and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also introduced the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act earlier this year, a bill to authorize $1 billion annually to help local governments address homelessness by bolstering affordable housing supply alongside comprehensive mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and job training.
Full text of the bill is available here.
Source: Senator Alex Padilla