Posts Tagged ‘MicKinney-Vento’
A special blogpost today because the House Appropriations Committee proposed bumping the FY 2011 McKinney-Vento budget from $2.055 to $2.2 billion!
If that first sentence made no sense to you, you’re not alone. But we’re hoping this post helps you wrap your mind around the federal budget process.
We’ve written about fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) funding a few times now on this blog – usually asking YOU to contact your members of Congress to ensure that homeless assistance programs (McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants primary among them) receive adequate funding.
And we’ve been asking you to do that because RIGHT NOW – right this very moment – Congress is making decisions about the federal budget.
From February (when the President releases a proposed budget) to whenever-Congress-gets-around-to-deciding, the House and the Senate meet in their committees and subcommittees to decide how much money should go into federal programs, agencies, and departments.
And as you can imagine, this is no small task. President Obama’s proposed FY 2011 is $3.8 trillion dollars – you try deciding how that money should be spent! For their part, Members consider a wide breadth of factors, including the President’s proposed budget, their own legislative priorities, issues of interest to home districts and constituents, national concerns (like the economy!), and a wealth of other things.
So it basically goes down like this:
Subcommittees (12, to be precise) review portions of the bill pertinent to them. In our case, the House and Senate Transportation – Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) subcommittees review the housing and transportation portions of the federal budget, including funding for the McKinney-Vento programs.
Once the T-HUD committees finish examining and revising (we call it “marking up”) their bill, it goes to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. The Appropriations committees collect the bills they received from the 12 subcommittees, marks them up, and passes them on.
Those bills then go to the House and Senate floors where they can be amended, and then members vote.
(A quick note to keep in mind: the House and Senate do not coordinate their schedules. So while the House T-HUD subcommittee and Appropriations committee have already marked up their bill, the Senate T-HUD subcommittee is just meeting today.)
So here’s a little secret: usually, the Appropriations committees let the subcommittees make the big decisions. In both the House and the Senate, it’s the subcommittees that comb through the portions of the federal budget and determine how resources should be allocated. In fact, it’s usually the case that the budget bills don’t change much once they’ve left subcommittees.
But this is exactly why this change to McKinney-Vento funding is such a big deal! The House Appropriations committee broke with tradition and changed the budget bill, allocating $2.2 billion – an extra $145 million – to McKinney-Vento programs!
And McKinney-Vento was the only program to receive a boost in the House Appropriations committee. Of all the things members of the House Appropriations committee were concerned about when examining the T-HUD budget, of all the programs and agencies and departments and initiatives they could’ve funded or not funded, the only program they gave more money to was the McKinney-Vento programs.
So it’s a pretty big deal.
This morning, the Senate T-HUD committee convened to mark up the Senate’s version of the budget bill. Once we get the numbers from the Senate T-HUD subcommittee, we’ll have a better grasp on what might be in the actual budget bill that’s signed by the president.
Budget news – and certainly the federal budget process – can be dry and tedious, but it’s events like this that make it interesting. The House Appropriations committee bumping up the number at this point in the game has upped the ante – and really made the Senate T-HUD subcommittee meeting more interesting.
Because – let’s not forget the wide-angle view – the money that’s allocated to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs is the money that gets sent to communities. It’s the money that funds prevention and rapid re-housing initiatives, permanent supportive housing programs, social and supportive services, and other activities instrumental in reducing and ending homelessness in our own neighborhoods.
Through that lens, you can see why it’s a pretty big deal to us.
So stay tuned – we’ll keep you updated all day long what’s to come!
This morning, the House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its fiscal year (FY) 2011 spending bill. (This is the subcommittee – along with its Senate counterpart – that governs the HUD budget.)
Although all of the details of the bill are not yet available, the legislation includes:
- $2.055 billion for the HUD McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants (the amount requested by the Administration and a 10 percent increase over FY 2010);
- $75 million for HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers;
- $85 million for a Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration; and
- $350 million for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program (a $15 million increase over FY 2010).
Given the current budget climate and the emphasis on keeping the deficit down, we are delighted that the House has provided increased resources for each of these programs. In fact, if passed by Congress, this would be the largest one-year increase for the McKinney programs in 15 years.
However, it will require $2.4 billion to fully implement the HEARTH Act.
So we need you to get back to those phones and do YOUR part to ensure that you’re protecting the local programs that help our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.
- Contact your Representative and ask him/her to work throughout the rest of the appropriations process to provide additional funding for McKinney programs. (And if they happen to be a House T-HUD member, thank them for their work on the spending bill!)
- Call the housing staffers in your Senators’ office and ask them to work with Senate T-HUD members to provide the necessary $2.4 billion for McKinney programs in the Senate FY 2011 bill.
- Let us know what happened.Report all responses to Amanda Krusemark and let her know if you want to stay involved with Alliance advocacy efforts.
We know you’ve been working hard to work on this McKinney campaign – and we couldn’t make progress without you. And while advocacy can be sometimes-unglamorous work, we know that YOU’RE making the difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness in our local communities and nationwide.
For additional details on the House’s HUD appropriations bill, visit our website.
And thanks for all your hard work!
Today, a post from Amanda Krusemark, assistant to the President and a jane-of-all-trades member of the staff. The news: HUD released the NOFA today, which may seem insignificant to many, but often represents a large percentage of homeless assistance funding for many communities.
In homeless industry talk a NOFA is a Notice of Funding Availability. It let folks across the country know that the application for federal funds is available.
Specifically, the NOFA explains the pertinent details, including how much money is available, who is eligible, what the funds can be used for, and how to complete an application for funding. In essence, the NOFA is the siren call for service providers to apply for federal funding.
This particular NOFA is a pretty big deal for homeless service providers, because it covers the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. As we’ve discussed before, the McKinney-Vento programs represent the largest chunk of federal funds dedicated solely to homeless programs. Applying for these funds is one of the biggest jobs that Continuums of Care (CoC) – the official administrative unit in charge of homeless programs – do all year, because these funds will be often be the biggest single funding sources for homeless programs for the year.
We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) and other stimulus-funded programs. CoCs will get extra points on their application if they can show that their programs will coordinate with stimulus resources.
One of the tricky things for CoCs is that HUD recently introduced a new online application system, known as e-snaps, and people are still trying to figure out how to navigate the system. To help people out, HUD has created training resources on the Homelessness Resource Exchange (HRE) – a very helpful site for all things homelessness.
The applications are due before midnight ET on November 9, so CoCs will be very busy trying to get their applications ready by then!
If YOU happen to be someone who’s busy writing these applications, please share your story with us! We’d love to hear about some real experiences from people on the ground.
So last week I did something new – the release of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), so I thought this week I’d do something old: the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistant Act.
The McKinney-Vento Act was authored by Stewart Brett McKinney – a Republican Congressman from Connecticut – and Bruce Frank Vento – a Democratic-Farm-Labor Congressman from Minnesota, both of whom were known to their peers as advocates of those less fortunate, and dedicated to finding supportive programs and solutions to homelessness. The bill was signed by President Ronald Reagan, who – ironically – is often accused of contributing to modern-day homelessness by deinstitutionalizing mental health facilities in the 1980s.
The McKinney-Vento Act was a comprehensive, multi-faceted bill that:
- Established the Interagency Council on Homelessness, a group of representatives from 15 federal agencies charged to design a comprehensive approach to reduce, prevent, and end homelessness in the country, and
- Created 20 assistance programs administered by nine federal agencies providing a spectrum of services to homeless people, including supportive housing, emergency shelter, emergency food and shelter grants, rental assistance, job training and education, etc.
The original text of the bill firmly establishes that homelessness is a growing social problem that can be addressed by the federal assistance. I found it particularly interesting that they wrote, “the problem of homelessness has become more severe and, in the absence of more effective efforts, is expected to become dramatically worse, endangering the lives and safety of the homeless; the causes of homelessness are many and complex, and homeless individuals have diverse needs; there is no single, simple solution to the problem of homelessness because of the different subpopulations of the homeless, the different causes of and reasons for homelessness, and the different needs of homeless individuals…”.
(It’s as true today as it was then. Maybe even more so.)
Since 1987, when the Act was enacted, it has been amended four times: 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1994. Most of the amendments have been cosmetic but in 1990, there were more substantial attempts to change the programs.
In 1990, Congress did the following (among other things):
- Expanded the number of activities eligible for McKinney funding.
- Expanded the Homeless Children and Youth program, and specified the obligations of state and local communities to ensure that homeless youth and children have access to public education.
- Created new programs, including the Shelter Plus Care Program and a health care for the homeless program.
- Renamed the Community Mental Health Services program to Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness program (PATH).
In May 2009, Congress passed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which reauthorized the McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs. It was the first significant reauthorization in nearly 20 years, both making transformative changes to the homeless assistance programs under the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as decisively shifting the focus of these programs from managing homelessness to preventing and ending homelessness.
Watch Steve Berg, Vice President of the Alliance, discuss the history and transformation of the McKinney-Vento programs. Note: the sound is a little fuzzy – we apologize in advance! (You can also watch this on our YouTube channel).
Hope this helps!