Archive for September 9th, 2011
Yesterday, Congress held its first vote on a proposal to fund programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including homeless assistance programs, for the upcoming fiscal year, FY 2012. This process, called the appropriations process, is one of the most critical times for advocates to get involved and reach out to their Members of Congress to educate them on the important programs funded through this yearly process.
The draft legislation, passed by the House HUD Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday, would provide the same amount of funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in FY 2012 as in FY 2011. Unfortunately, as many of our readers know, this is disappointing because a significant increase in funding is needed to address the needs of the growing population of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to implement the HEARTH Act.
However, there was definitely some good news! The legislation would provide $75 million for new vouchers under the joint HUD – Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, as the Alliance had advocated!
The original draft of the legislation, released on Wednesday, removed all funding for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which is key to coordinating the federal government’s response to homelessness. Fortunately, the subcommittee adopted an amendment, proposed by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to provide about $3 million in funding for USICH. It is likely that the Senate will also provide funding for USICH, allowing them to continue their important work implementing the federal strategic plan.
We must let our representatives know that we appreciate the funding for HUD-VASH and ICH but hope they will support a higher funding level for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in the final FY 2012 legislation. If you are interested in contacting your representatives let us know!
The legislation would also fund a number of other key HUD affordable housing programs by:
- Protecting existing Section 8 voucher renewals;
- Maintaining equal funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) compared to FY 2011;
- Providing $1.2 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership (25 percent cut compared to FY 2011);
- $600 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($200 million increase compared to FY 2011); and
- $196 million for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities ($46 million increase compared to FY 2011).
There is still a long way to go and many more opportunities to reach out to your Members of Congress; the process is far from over! The Senate has yet to release its own proposal, and then the two chambers must work out a compromise version of the legislation. That is not expected to happen before the start of FY 2012 on October 1, so Congress is likely to pass a stopgap funding measure through late fall to give itself more time to work out final details.
Greetings Alliance friends and supporters!
The week of September 12, we – the usual guards of the Alliance blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts – will be away from the office. But during that time, you will have the great opportunity to hear directly from some of our colleagues.
Each day, a new expert will take the reigns of our online community and share with you their perspectives on the Alliance, our work, and ending homelessness.
Monday, September 12: Elizabeth
Our resident fundraiser will share with you news from our latest Annual Report, how fundraising happens here at the Alliance, and how your hard earned donations make the difference in our program and policy work. If you have questions about the way the Alliance conducts fundraising, nonprofit development news, or have suggestions about online fundraising for the Alliance, make sure to shoot a note to Elizabeth on Facebook or Twitter on Monday!
Tuesday, September 13: Pete
Research associate and fan favorite Pete will share with you the poverty data that the U.S. Census Bureau will release that day and help break down what the data means for low-income and homeless people. It’s no surprise that many poor people are at risk of experiencing homelessness and that poverty is often associated with the highest homelessness risk factors including doubled up housing situations, severe housing cost burden, unemployment and/or low wages, and the like. Got research questions? Tuesday’s the day for them!
Wednesday, September 14: Kim & Norm
Wednesday’s tag team include members of our Capacity Building Team. These are the people who go into communities and work, on the ground, with people doing the hard work of ending homelessness. They take the lessons they learn, distill them into best practice briefs, and share them with other community leaders trying to do the same. If you haven’t seen their work, you should check it out. And don’t hesitate to ask them Twitter/Facebook questions on Wednesday.
Thursday, September 15: Amanda & Kate
Thursday means advocacy day! If you’re looking to get hands-on experience with advocating for homelessness programs and policies, today is your day to engage online. Amanda and Kate, our resident advocacy experts, are geared up and ready to recruit you to be a champion defender of solutions to homelessness. Current advocates, prospective advocate, policy wonks, and everyone interested in making a difference through federal policies (especially in this legislative climate!), take a moment on Thursday to let us know who you are, where you are, and how we can help you become an advocate!
Friday, September 16: Lisa
Remember that stuff a while back about healthcare? Lisa does. The Affordable Care Act is going to expand Medicaid and increase access to health care for very low-income and homeless people. What will this mean for you, your program, and your community? Tune in on Friday and find out.