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18th February
written by Anna Blasco

News this week has been squarely focused on one issue: money.

The Administration released its FY 2012 Budget Proposal on Monday which, despite trends towards fiscal austerity,  increased funding for some programs related to homelessness, including $2.372 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento program, 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers and $121 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs. (We held a webinar to discuss what this proposal means for housing and homelessness assistance programs, if you are interested in learning more.) There were a number of stories related to major cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, in particular.

A word of warning: this may get confusing.

Congress has still not finished work on the budget for the current fiscal year. So last Friday the  House Appropriations Committee released its funding proposal for the remainder of this fiscal year – FY 2011. The proposal included $100 billion in cuts across the federal budget, and included largely flat funding for many homeless assistance programs.

I find it interesting to note that the US is not alone in its  budget woes: amidst huge government cuts, charities in the UK say they expect to lose 30% of their funding in April.

Also of note: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a paper on states’ use of the (now defunct) TANF Emergency Fund to create subsidized jobs. A key quote:

“The TANF Emergency Fund has ended, but the need for jobs remains.  The fund’s accomplishments — most fundamentally, in showing that unemployed individuals in large numbers will seize the opportunity to work when given a paying job — should not be ignored until the next recession hits.  Rather, policymakers should use these lessons to create the next generation of public-private initiatives that will help restore the country’s strength and build tomorrow’s labor force.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Borman.

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