House Budget Places Homeless at Risk

Act to Make Sure Congress Protects Homelessness
Programs 160,000 at risk of becoming homeless

As we reported last Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released its FY2011 funding proposal. Although many programs were cut, the House’s proposal includes no increases to homeless assistance programs – a proposal the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates would result in 160,000 additional people homeless. The House will debate and vote on the bill this week with the Senate expected to take up the proposal shortly after.

We must make sure Congress protects important programs for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

We must ask Congress to provide:

  • $2.2 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants programs;
  • 10,000 new HUD – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers; and
  • 10,000 vouchers through the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration.

Hill UpdateWhat You Can Do:

Contact the housing staff member in your Representative and Senators’ DC offices. If you need help finding contact information, email Kate Seif.

Email or fax the staff person a letter asking his/her boss to support the above funding levels. For talking points and further information on these programs and the proposed funding levels, please click here.

Let Kate Seif know who you contacted and what response you received.

Background

The House’s February FY 2011 proposal includes only $1.85 billion for McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants, and no new HUD-VASH vouchers and no funding for the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration. These funding levels could lead to over 160,000 additional homeless who would otherwise be housed.

FY 2011 began on October 1, and the federal government is currently operating under a stopgap funding measure until March 4. The Senate is expected to draft its own FY 2011 legislation in response to the House’s proposal; however, it is unclear whether Congress will be able to complete the process in its entirety prior to March 4.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. Simply renewing existing projects in McKinney-Vento programs would require $1.75 billion in FY 2011. Although $2.4 billion is needed in FY 2011 to fully implement the HEARTH Act, a funding level of at least $2.2 billion would help cover the increasing costs of renewing current projects and allow communities to continue developing new permanent supportive housing. Providing $2.2 billion will provide additional Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) resources, which many communities will need to use to replace Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) resources if they run short before the end of the fiscal year.

HUD-VASH vouchers. This important program couples rental assistance from HUD with case management from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Congress should fund an additional 10,000 vouchers to help VA reach its goal of ending homelessness among veterans in five years. .

Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration. This demonstration would provide $85 million from HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program to be combined with services provided through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Medicaid, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as resources from the Department of Education.