On Monday, the Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 Budget Proposal. This is the start of the Alliance’s advocacy season and we’re excited by some of the numbers! This year is a great time to start getting involved with advocating for homeless assistance programs – join us today!
If you’re wondering what the President’s Budget Proposal is – and why it’s important – you’re not alone. This big document is released every year by the Administration in early February . It officially kicks off the federal budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, which will start on October 1.
A couple of weeks ago, we discussed why this proposal matters. The President’s budget Proposal is not law. It’s meant to serve as a guide for Congress as it makes its own decisions about appropriations and the federal budget.
The President’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal includes suggested funding levels for many key programs targeted toward low-income or homeless people. This year, we at the Alliance were really excited to see some impressive increases proposed to homeless assistance programs:
- $2.23 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, a 17 percent increase over the FY 2012 level;
- $1.35 billion for targeted homeless veteran programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a 33 percent increase over the FY 2012 level; and
- $19.07 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, including $75 million for about 10,000 new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers.
These increases of about $330 million to VA’s homelessness programs and HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs each (not to mention funding for additional HUD-VASH vouchers) are a clear sign of the Administration’s commitment to implementing the HEARTH Act and the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness – even in a time of extremely tight budgeting.
The Budget Proposal also included flat funding (the same as in FY 2012) for countless other federal programs, including many that are important to homeless and at-risk people:
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs;
- Homeless programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration;
- Education for Homeless Children and Youth programs; and
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs.
In addition, it proposed some cuts to key programs, including Project-Based Rental Assistance, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Section 811, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. For more details on the Administration’s proposed funding levels, click here.
So, what happens next? Congress has already begun to hold hearings on the Budget Proposal, and soon they’ll start to craft their own proposals. The Alliance is planning to launch major advocacy campaigns around several high-priority funding issues, including for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs, RHYA programs, and VA’s Zero Homelessness Initiative. If you are interested in participating in any of these campaigns, please contact us!