Yesterday, the President unveiled his proposed budget for FY 2011.
It was generally good news in the field of homeless assistance. The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and then Associated Press all gave nods to the boost in homeless assistance funding.
We’re nodding right along with them. The president’s budget marks the biggest increase to homeless assistance services in 16 years – and that’s nothing to sneeze at! It’s a critical move at a time when the economy is still so unstable, especially for those who are already on financially precarious ground.
- A ten percent ($190 million) bump to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, the largest portion of the federal investment to homeless assistance
- A 50 percent boost in homeless assistance funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This significant increase may prove useful in the Department’s professed goal of reducing the number of homeless veterans (currently 131,000) to 59,000 by July 2012, but no detailed plan for the strategic use of this funding boost has been made available.
- An $85 million permanent supportive housing initiative. What’s most notable about this plan is not only the federal investment in permanent supportive housing – a proven strategy to end homelessness – but the emphasis on interagency collaboration. It will require that recipients be serviced by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health and Human Service (HHS) and Education (DOE).
- Extension of the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) emergency fund. The emergency fund, which was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides short-term emergency assistance services for families at-risk of homelessness. This emergency fund is being extended for another year.
- Three new initiatives and significant jump in funding for policy development and research at HUD.
We’ll be tackling each of these policy priorities in blogposts to come, starting with the ten percent increase in McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs: the bread and butter for so many direct service providers supplying the day-to-day, on-the-ground assistance so critical for those experiencing homelessness right now.
As we’ve been talking about on this blog, the Alliance calling on Congress to increase funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs to $2.4 billion in FY2011. To find out more about the advocacy effort – and more about the President’s budget – visit the website.