As soon as the elections were over (literally, the next day), the nation turned its attention to the impending “Fiscal Cliff.” The fiscal cliff is a complicated amalgam of the immediate fiscal issues our nation faces – including debt, revenue, spending, and a few other things. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities does a much better job explaining it here.
One truly important thing to know about the fiscal cliff, though, is that it includes sequestration. Sequestration, as we’ve discussed on this blog before, is a fancy term for automatic, across-the-board cuts to non-defense, discretionary spending. Which, for our purposes, is a longer way of saying the fiscal cliff includes cuts to nearly all federally-funded affordable housing and homelessness programs, 8.2 percent in cuts that will take place on January 2, to be exact. These cuts would immediately impact thousands of our nations’ most vulnerable people, and their impact would eventually affect hundreds of thousands over the coming months.
In essence, sequestration is a policy that would go a long way toward walking back a lot of the great work we’ve seen in the past few years, work that has held back the tide of rising homelessness, and in many cases reversed it. Fortunately, though, we now have an opportunity to impact the congressional decision-making process and educate our Members of Congress on the importance of HUD programs in our community in preventing and ending homelessness.
That’s why we’ve made this week “National Sequestration Call-in Week!” We need advocates like you to call your Senators and Representatives! It’s time to explain how important federal funding is for ending homelessness, and warn your members of congress about the negative consequences sequestration cuts would have on your community. We have talking points to help guide your conversation and we can help with anything else you might need!
If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that people experiencing homelessness aren’t lost in the budgetary shuffle, cuts under sequestration to affordable housing and other programs targeted at low-income families and individuals could potentially create huge increases in homelessness in the coming months and years.
Call your Members. Tell them that cuts to HUD and other homeless assistance programs are unacceptable! Let me know who you contacted!