CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, February 2, 2024


February 2, 2024

February 2, 2024 

The domestic emergency needs edition. You’ve heard some in Congress say we have an emergency along our Southern border. And yes, it is true that Republicans should join Democrats at the table and negotiate a comprehensive immigration bill – one that treats immigrants fairly, whether they are already here, or are seeking to come here due to facing political oppression or various other forms of violence at home. 

But as members of Congress stare down the FY 2024 appropriations process from both sides of the aisle, it is abundantly clear that we have a number of domestic human needs emergencies we must address. Despite this, there are reports that a new agreement to allocate funding among appropriations bills will leave the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education with less money than in FY 2023.  Still, Congress must be held accountable to address the crises and shortfalls described below.  

We have a child care crisis. We need billions of dollars to address it. We have a housing shortfall – more than 100,000 Americans could lose access to affordable housing if Congress does not act. We have millions of mothers and children who could be turned away from critical WIC nutritional benefits. We have an assault on Title I public education funding – that could cost several hundred thousands of teachers their jobs, causing irreparable harm to kids from families with low incomes. We have more than one million Americans who could lose help with their home heating and cooling bills. 

The list goes on, but you get the picture. It is more important than ever that we tell Congress: pass spending bills without delay that fully fund our domestic priorities. 

2 million 

The approximate number of young children and pregnant and postpartum adults who could be turned away from WIC benefits by September if the program is not adequately funded. Black and Hispanic families would be disproportionately harmed. Retweet this.



Some 112,000 fewer families would receive rental assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher program if a House committee proposal becomes law. Under the Senate proposal, 80,000 fewer households would get vouchers to help with rent. Retweet this.



The House Labor-Health and Human Services- Education Committee has proposed an 80% cut for Title I Grants to school systems in low-income districts. This could result in forcing 220,000 teachers from classrooms serving these students. In contrast, the Senate Labor-HHS-Ed bill as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee provided a slight increase over FY23 funding. Retweet this.



That same House committee has recommended a $750 million cut to Head Start, which could result in more than 80,000 losing access to Head Start programs. Retweet this.


Nearly 1,000 

Nearly 1,000 national and state organizations, including child care providers, early educators, and advocacy groups representing children and families, have called on Congress to pass $16 billion in funding to avert a major disruption in the child care industry. Retweet this.



2022 saw the largest increase in poverty in 50 years among women, particularly Black non-Hispanic women, Latinas, and women with disabilities. Poverty among women and girls rose in one year from 7.8% to 12.8%. Poverty among children overall rose from 5.2% to 12.4%. Poverty rose from 11.9% to 26.7% for family units with children headed by a single woman.



There were 109,680 drug overdose deaths in 2022. The federally funded State Opioid Response Grants helped slow the increase in overdose deaths, achieving 500,000 overdose reversals. President Biden is seeking $1.55b in emergency funding for these grants, which Congress has not yet provided.


$6.4 billion/ $4.1 billion 

Congress is considering cutting funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from $6.4 billion last year to $4.1 billion this year. If this happens, as many as 1.5 million families could be cut from the program.


16.5 %

The average cost of home heating has increased 16.5% since the beginning of the pandemic – from $725 to $868.


1 in 6 

More than 1 in 6 U.S. households are behind on their energy bills – 16% of all households, or 21.2 million.