As we mentioned before, the President released his fiscal year (FY) 2013 Budget Proposal last week, and it included a whopping 17 percent increase to HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, raising the funding level to $2.231 billion. This would be the largest one-year increase to homeless assistance in nearly 20 years!
As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement at the Alliance when we saw this. This funding level would allow communities to continue their existing activities, expand the rapid re-housing and prevention efforts through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and continue HEARTH implementation while funding new permanent supportive housing through the Continuums of Care.
But the President’s Budget Proposal is not law, so we still have to convince Congress to follow through with the Administration’s recommendations before they’re official – still, the President’s Budget Proposal initiates the discussion about funding priorities and thereby raises our chances that Congress will consider increasing funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs. As such, we’ve already launched an effort to leverage the Administration’s request and educate Congress on the importance of making these programs a priority in FY 2013.
So what, you may ask, can you do to help? Well, for starters, join our FY 2013 McKinney Appropriations Campaign! We need as many people as possible to send letters to their Members of Congress in the next several weeks. In fact, we’ve set a goal of working with our partners across the country to send at least 500 letters to Members of Congress in support of the $2.23 billion funding level by March 20.
March 20 is the deadline for representatives to submit their official list of FY 2013 funding priorities, called programmatic requests, to their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee. Senators have just a few extra days, until March 23. After that, the Appropriations Committee will look at the priorities and start to craft the HUD appropriations bills based on those requests. So, we must act now to ensure that Members of Congress recognize that they should prioritize funding for homeless assistance this year.
We need your help! You can use this sample letter to send letters, and then ask your partners and colleagues to send letters, too. Make sure to let us know if you have any questions and how many letters you send, so we can keep track to see if we reach our goal. Keep us in the loop or get more information by emailing Amanda Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org.