On February 4, 2008, the President released the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget. The total spending will equal at least $3.1 trillion. The impact on homelessness and persons with disabilities is a very small portion of the total budget. It is these areas where the budget has a significant impact on supportive services and housing for the homeless as well as persons with disabilities. The President’s Budget is one of the tightest budgets for housing and homeless programs. There are few if any increases equal to or greater than inflation.
Mckinney-Vento funding would be increased by $50 million which might be close to inflation. However, “the funding level would be inadequate. Permanent housing renewals alone will increase by approximately $95 million (preliminary estimate).” Emergency Food and Shelter Program would receive a $53 million cut to $100 million. HOME funding will be increased but CDBG will be reduced. Section 811 will be reduced by $77 million and the 202 program by $195 million.
This budget is another challenge to advocates in New Jersey. In 2007 advocates rallied support to restore most of the budget cuts. For example, this effort resulted in securing the largest increase in funding for Mckinney-Vento. To insure that your voice is heard please make plans to attend the Congressional Reception on July 30, 2008. In addition, now is the time to cultivate your local members of Congress to insure that they are aware of the importance of permanent, affordable and supportive housing.
The following is a summary prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). To read their full report click here. To view a breakdown by specific funding sources click here. For more information about NAEH’s strategy click here.
Rundown of the Administration’s FY 2009 Budget, February 5, 2008
1.The Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2009 was released on February 4. It proposes increased funding for the Department of Defense, cuts to health care programs, and about $2.4 billion less for domestic discretionary programs other than Homeland Security. These programs include most of the housing, human service, veterans, education, and infrastructure programs that help low-income people. After accounting for inflation, these programs would be cut by 4 percent from last year. The budget also proposes to cut Medicaid by $18 billion over 5 years.
2. The Budget proposes increasing funding for HUD’s homeless assistance programs by $50 million to $1.636 billion. HUD would reserve up to $50 million of that amount for the Samaritan Housing Initiative, which is a bonus to communities that prioritize projects serving chronically homeless individuals. In previous budgets, HUD had wanted to use $25 million of homeless assistance for a prisoner reentry initiative. This budget does not include that provision. It also includes no funding for a rapid rehousing program for homeless families, which was included in the FY 2008 Appropriation bill passed by Congress. Other features of the program such as the 30 percent set-aside for permanent housing and non-competitive funding for Shelter Plus Care renewals would remain the same.
The funding level would be inadequate. Permanent housing renewals alone will increase by approximately $95 million (preliminary estimate).
3.Several other targeted homelessness programs, including the following, would receive the same amount of funding as in 2007.
Runaway and Homeless Youth programs — $113 million
Education for Homeless Children and Youth — $64 million
4.Some programs would receive increases in funding.
Health Care for the Homeless — $2 million increase to $178 million.
Projects to Assist in the Transition from Homelessness (PATH) — $7 million increase to $60 million
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program — $2 million increase to $26 million
HUD-VASH — Another $75 million for incremental HUD-VASH Vouchers.
5.One program would receive decreased funding.
Emergency Food and Shelter Program — $53 million cut to $100 million
6.Funding levels for some programs is unknown, including: Veterans Grant and Per Diem and SAMHSA Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals.