Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García Calls on HUD Secretary Carson to Support Life-Saving Legislation for Residents of Public Housing
Washington, DC- At a hearing of the Financial Services Committee today, Congressman “Chuy” García (IL-04) called on Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to support H.R. 1690, the Safe Housing for Families Act, which would make carbon monoxide (CO) detectors mandatory in public housing units subsidized by HUD.
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“I introduced this bill with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01) in March because it is unconscionable that the government plays a role in providing housing for the most vulnerable among us – often the elderly, children, and working-class families – yet its very own facilities threaten their lives. How many more must die before we act?
“I am encouraged by Secretary Carson’s announcement that HUD will provide $5 million for CO detectors in federally assisted housing, but this is not enough. We must pass H.R. 1690 and S. 755, the Safe Housing for Families Act, to codify and standardize carbon monoxide protections and provide a total of $10 million to ensure that no more lives are lost due to CO poisoning. I urge Secretary Carson and my colleagues in the House and Senate to support and pass this life-saving legislation,” said Congressman García.
“While I am encouraged by Secretary Carson’s action, Congress must pass the Safe Housing for Families Act as soon as possible to codify and fund the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in public housing units. Every single day that goes by without action is a day we risk another senseless and entirely preventable death occurring,” said Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01).
“Residents of public housing deserve safe living conditions especially from something so easily avoided as carbon monoxide poisoning. We are pleased that Congressman Garcia is leading the effort to rectify this problem and trust that Congress and the HUD will commit the resources to protect residents,” said Kevin Jackson, executive director of the Chicago Rehab Network, a citywide coalition of over 40 housing organizations.
More than 400 people die in the United States each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carbon monoxide detectors are not currently required in HUD housing and the agency does not keep an official record of carbon monoxide deaths in the housing units it oversees. The Safe Housing for Families Act, introduced in March by Congressmen García and Joe Cunningham (SC-01), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), will ensure public housing facilities across the U.S. are equipped with and maintain functioning carbon monoxide monitors.