The results are in… and you did GREAT!
We are so impressed with all the advocacy efforts we’ve seen over the last few weeks that we wanted to take our weekly blog post opportunity to say “thank you!” In February, following the release of the President’s Budget Proposal, the Alliance called on all of you to write as many letters as possible to your Members of Congress urging them to support the President’s request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. We set the goal of sending 500 letters and you blew it out of the water! In about a month, you were able to send at least 613 letters!! That’s 23% more than our goal – incredible!
During that time, two congressional sign-on letters circulated, one in the House and one in the Senate, about the importance of funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs. The House letter, circulated by Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI), called for funding McKinney-Vento at $2.231 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013, as requested by the President. This letter received a very impressive 65 signatures! That beats all the similar letters from 2010 and 2011! The Senate letter, calling for robust funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in FY 2013, received 28 signatures!
As you can tell, our partners did an incredible job on McKinney-Vento advocacy. But we’re not done bragging about you yet! A third letter circulating in the House called for $75 million to fund approximately 10,000 new HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers in FY 2013. This letter received another impressive 64 signatures from representatives in a very short period of time.
In addition to these signatures, you got many Members to weigh in separately and directly with their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee about the importance of providing increased funding for these and other key homelessness programs. All in all, we sent a loud and clear message to Congress – these programs serve the most vulnerable in a cost-effective or –efficient way. And more importantly, they work!
So what happens next? As is always the case in Congress, you can never know for sure. But here’s what we think will happen: The House and Senate will each decide very soon how much overall money the HUD Appropriations Subcommittee (in charge of funding for HUD programs) will have to spend. Once that number is decided, they will move pretty quickly to divide that amount up among each HUD program. They’re expected to begin releasing and voting on bills as soon as next month in the Senate and possibly shortly afterward in the House. As you can see, decisions are being made now! It’s important to keep up our involvement and advocacy during these key decision-making times. Work with us in the coming weeks to keep breaking records, and to keep up the fantastic showing we’ve seen from all of you for these key programs! On behalf of the entire team here at the Alliance, we just want to say THANK YOU for all of your help so far – now let’s keep our momentum going!