Now is the Time to Let Congress Know
We Need Homes for the Homeless
Once gain this year, Monarch Housing Associates and CSH will lead NJ advocates as state co-captains for NJ Capitol Hill Day 2013, which will be held on Thursday, July 31st at the end of NAEH’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness.
This Thursday, twenty-four (24) people will be on the Hill meeting with all eleven (11) members of our House delegation and both US Senators.
But even if you cannot attend NJ Hill Day, this is the summer to take action to ensure that we have adequate resources to end homelessness.
Congress adjourns on July 31st and does not return until September 8th and will only be in session for twelve (12) days before mid-November.
Now more than ever our members of Congress need to hear from us that with depressed wages, stagnant unemployment, unrelenting housing cost burden, and the lagging pace of the economic recovery, this is not the time to be making dramatic cuts in federal spending that directly impacts the lives of the most vulnerable. We need to visit, call, fax and email our members of Congress to make sure that they hear from all of us that the budget cuts approved by the House are unacceptable.
Among the key policy issues are:
- The House has voted to flat fund the McKinney-Vento program, which means funding cuts to Continuums of Care. Communities would be required to once again make the difficult tiering and prioritization decisions they made for the FY 2013 NOFA. Flat funding for McKinney would mean a step back in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness in America.
- The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to provide a $40 million increase to the program. This would possibly be enough to cover all renewals, but would provide NO new funding for new projects.
- The proposed budget does not address the loss of rental assistance. The loss of as many as up to 3,224 vouchers in NJ – come at a time when there’s a severe shortage of affordable housing across the country especially in post-Sandy NJ.
- Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund – which could end homelessness – has still not been funded seven years after the legislation passed. No NJ House member has endorsed National Housing Trust Fund bill, HR 1213. This funding would allow us to end homelessness.
- As we approach the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, we need additional Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) for Areas Impacted by Federally Declared Disasters. Only half of the NJ delegation is a sponsor of H.R. 5082, the House Disaster Tax Relief Bill.
We know how to end homelessness – we need to create more homes for the homeless! We strongly encourage you to contact New Jersey’s Representative and Senators when they are home this summer and let them know that budget cuts are unacceptable and that when we fail to implement successful and long-term solutions to homelessness, we pay the price – with our limited public funds and with the lives of men, women, families, youth, and veterans who sleep on the street.