Archive for March 8th, 2012

8th March
written by Kate Seif

If the District’s 70+ degree weather today is any indication, it’s spring time here in our nation’s capital, and that means two things: the Cherry Blossoms are about to bloom and appropriations season is in full swing!

In addition to writing letters to your senators and representatives urging them to submit their funding priorities to the Appropriations Committees, there are currently two Dear Colleague letters circulating in the House supporting increased HUD McKinney-Vento and HUD-VASH funding.

Dear Colleague letters, also known as “sign-on letters,” are usually sponsored by one to three Members of Congress and contain a message for specific people in Congress – in this case, the sign-on letter is addressed to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee or an Appropriations Subcommittee.  The letters asks to increase or maintain funding levels for specific programs for the upcoming fiscal year. The sponsors circulate the letter among their colleagues in either the House or Senate (in this case, both letters are in the House) to gather signatures.

The first letter is being circulated by Rep. Gwen Moore’s office in support of providing the $2.321 billion requested by the President for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants for fiscal year (FY) 2013.

The second letter is being circulated by Reps. Al Green, Mike Michaud, and Michael Grimm in support of providing $75 million for new HUD – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers in FY 2013.  The President also requested $75 million for the vouchers, which will provide approximately 10,000 new vouchers for homeless veterans.

Dear Colleague letters are an easy way for a Member to show support and convey that support to their colleagues and constituents.  The sign-on letters are also a great opportunity to connect with your Members’ offices!

If you would like to see your representative’s name on either of these letters supporting increased funding for homeless veterans and the nation’s most vulnerable people, reach out to them! Let the offices know that the letters are being circulated and that you, as their constituent, would like to see them sign on! View the HUD-VASH or McKinney letters on our website for more talking points, sample letters, and instructions on how your representative can show their support! Then be sure to let us know who you contacted!