Archive for January 19th, 2012

19th January
2012
written by Amanda Benton

In the vast majority of our advocacy blog posts, we discuss congressional advocacy. But there is also another important kind of advocacy:  efforts aimed at the Administration and government agencies.

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an interim regulation for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program, as required by the HEARTH Act updating HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. Normally, HUD releases a draft regulation, the public then comments on the regulation, and, finally, HUD takes those comments into consideration before publishing a final regulation – which only then goes into effect.

In this case, though, Congress specifically gave HUD more money to run the new ESG program, so HUD had to act quickly. HUD released this interim regulation, which officially went into effect on January 4, but they are still taking comments!

We’ve received a lot of questions from people who aren’t sure their comments matter this time, since the regulation is already in effect. So, we want to be clear: your comments are really critical!

The public has until Friday, February 3 to comment on the regulation. HUD will then consider those comments before eventually publishing a final, updated regulation. So, although comments won’t immediately affect the program, they’ll have a significant impact in the way the program is ultimately designed over the long run. If you or your community had any concerns about the regulations, now is your time to address them!

We’ve put out a lot of resources about the ESG regulation itself and recommendations and resources for communities beginning to implement the new ESG program. They can all be found at www.endhomelessness.org/ESG.

To provide people with an easy starting point and helpful guidance, the Alliance has released a draft of our own comments – the newest resource at www.endhomelessness.org/ESG. But just as you may use our comments to craft your own, we would love additional feedback from our partners across the country as to what we should include in the Alliance’s final comments. We want to hear your feedback and concerns about our comments and the regulation itself.

If you have thoughts of suggestions, please email Amanda Benton at abenton@naeh.org and include “ESG Comments” in the subject line.

Even though this is a different kind of advocacy, it’s just as important. It will have a long-term impact on the communities tools have at their disposal to prevent and end homelessness. We hope you’ll take the time to submit comments to HUD, and we can’t wait to hear from you with any questions, concerns, or feedback.