Archive for February 15th, 2011

15th February
2011
written by Kate Seif

Know that pang of guilt  when you pass a person you think may not have a place to sleep tonight bundled on some frigid winter day? You may try to quickly distract yourself with groceries lists, weekend plans or by quickly dismissing the situation as something over which you have no control.

We are here to tell you that you can help.

The economic recession is technically over and the stock market is rebounding remarkably; but high unemployment and foreclosures remind us that not everyone has recovered. In response to these persistent signs of economic turmoil and the cries of a beleaguered nation, Congress campaigned on promises to cut the federal budget and reduce the federal deficit.

The House Appropriations Committee made good on that promise last Friday when it announced $100 billion in cuts to the federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2011. Compared to many programs, homeless assistance programs fared decently, with many receiving level funding from FY 2010. Other programs, largely those targeted toward low-income families, households, and jobseekers received deep cuts.

By cutting many of these programs, we are taking away necessary resources from the people who need it most: youth, veterans, and families. Programs like HUD-VASH and McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants have been proven as cost-effective solutions to ending homelessness.  The moral and financial cost of allowing our neighbors to become and remain homeless is too great for us not to act.

Here is where you come in: as constituents and voters, it is up to YOU to encourage your representatives and senators to preserve and increase funding for these vital programs.  We can’t do this alone – we need your help in saving over 161,000 people from becoming homeless who would otherwise be housed.

These programs work. These programs often save money.  The time to act to help our fellow Americans in need is NOW. While perhaps a clichéd phrase, we really must not ask ourselves if our nation can afford to increase these programs, but instead, can we afford not to?

The next time you are faced with the sad scene of a veteran asking for spare change, or a mother with her child asking for just a little help, don’t avert your eyes – raise your voice.  Call, write, and email your representatives and senators demanding they increase funding for the vital programs that help those in the most need.

Contact me at cseif@naeh.org / 202-942-8281 if you want to find out how you can get more involved. We are encouraging people to become more involved in FY 2011 and FY 2012 appropriations campaigns to secure funding for these vital programs. For more information, please click the links throughout and visit our website.


Image courtesy of Sarah Price Photography.