Please see notice below from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Please contact Congressman John Olver TODAY to urge him to increase funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants:
Washington, DC office: (202) 225-5335 or in Holyoke (413) 532-7010
It looks like Congress is entering the home stretch as it begins to finalize decisions about FY 2012 funding for HUD programs, including McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. More details on the timeline are available below, but congressional leaders hope to begin making decisions THIS WEEK about how much money will be available overall for HUD and specifically for McKinney-Vento programs.
As you know, the stakes are high, so we need your help! We must ensure that Congress understands how important affordable housing and homelessness resources are for our communities – both for implementing the HEARTH Act and for addressing the increasing number of people likely to become homeless.
What You Can Do:
1. Contact the housing staff person for your senators and representatives THIS WEEK.
a. NOTE: If your Member of Congress sits on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, it is particularly important to contact his/her office.
2. Explain how important it is that Congress provides as much overall funding as possible for HUD programs and INCREASES funding for McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs.
3. Ask your Member of Congress to contact the leaders of the Appropriations Committee RIGHT AWAY to express his/her support for providing as much overall funding for HUD as possible and to specifically increase funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.
The Senate has combined three of its FY 2012 appropriations bills (Transportation-HUD; Agriculture; and Commerce, Justice, and Science) into one “mini-bus” piece of legislation, H.R. 2112. The Senate is expected to pass this bill today. It would set funding levels for HUD programs, including McKinney-Vento. H.R. 2112 would not provide the much-needed increase for McKinney-Vento programs.
Why Do McKinney Programs Need an Increase?
Both the House and Senate have proposed maintaining the current level of funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs, but we know that simply isn’t enough. The Alliance recently predicted that homelessness could increase by 5 percent, or 74,000 people, in the next three years if nothing is done – and this doesn’t take into account additional local, state, and federal budget cuts to affordable housing and targeted homelessness programs. Such an increase would be unacceptable.
The effort to increase HUD and McKinney funding is gaining momentum. In the last week, the New York Times has published two editorials about the need for more federal funding for HUD affordable housing and homelessness programs (one on October 26 and one on October 31). The second one noted:
Without an intensive federal effort to finance housing programs, the burden will fall on states and cities that are already unable to handle growing social needs…. Things would no doubt be considerably worse without the $1.5 billion homelessness prevention program that Congress passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With that money, HUD helped to prevent more than a million people from becoming homeless. It provided them with short- and medium-term rental assistance, moving expenses and other services. It quickly re-housed those who landed in shelters. With most of that recovery money gone, it is important that Congress provide the $2.4 billion in homeless assistance funding that the administration has requested. (Emphasis added)
These editorials have added to the strong momentum YOU helped to create – let’s take advantage of that by telling Congress how important these programs are. We need your help! Please send the message of this New York Times editorial to your congressional delegation. Explain that your community desperately needs additional resources to fight homelessness, and that you’re counting on Congress to INCREASE funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in the final FY 2012 HUD Appropriations Act.
Timeline: What Happens Next?
- Today: The Senate will finish its debate on H.R. 2112, which combines its FY 2012 funding proposals for programs within HUD and several other federal departments and agencies. The legislation is expected to pass today.
- Immediately afterward: Senate and House Appropriations Committee leaders are expected to begin meeting RIGHT AWAY to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. Congressional leaders believe this compromise process will move quickly.
- November 18: The current stopgap measure funding the government expires on November 18. Congress is widely expected to be unable to complete all of its FY 2012 appropriations by that date and will pass another stopgap measure through December. However, leaders may be able to complete the FY 2012 HUD funding bill before November 18. If this were to happen, the new stopgap measure would only apply to departments whose appropriations have not yet been finalized.
As you can see, the timeline for this process is likely to be very quick, so it’s imperative that we act NOW to affect the outcome. Local, state, and federal cuts to affordable housing programs will further swell the number of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness – making it all the more necessary to provide additional resources to homeless assistance programs.