People Living on Streets and Low-Income People Need Medicaid Funding
At the July 26, 2017, Congressional Reception, the over 450 New Jerseyans in attendance heard from speakers representing national organizations that made the critical connection between funding both federal housing programs and protecting Medicaid.
Pascale Leone, Senior Program Manager with CSH’s Greater Metro Region addressed the audience encouraging their advocacy efforts to fight housing cuts.
Pascale told the audience, “We know in New Jersey, that 88% of the federal HUD funding for rental assistance goes to the elderly, children and individuals with disabilities. So, it’s a shame that these legislators are trying to impose these cuts on really needed assistance.”
“We really need these federal funds to leverage this amazing work that is happening in New Jersey right now,” said Pascale. “I want to mention that as equally important as the bricks and mortar in having a safe roof over your head are the services that go into this housing.”
Pascale reminded the audience how devastating it would be if federal Medicaid funding was cut or capped.
Pascale spoke directly to those individuals who have been impacted by homelessness reminding the people who have stories and experiences have the most to share with our elected officials.
“Let your voices be heard,” gave Pascale as a charge to the audience to remember in their advocacy work to fight cuts to housing funding.
Speaking about the need to advocate for federal funding to end homelessness, Steve Berg, Vice President of Programs and Policy with the National Alliance to End Homelessness (the Alliance) told the audience that “People who have seen the effect their communities of showing up down here in Washington, going in to see their member of congress and telling them exactly what you need to solve these problems. And these are problems we can solve.”
He reminded the audience that although these are difficult times, “This is a year where it could make a big difference. It is a very important time for people to be coming here.”
A key policy priority of the Alliance’s is federal McKinney-Vento funding. Steve reminded the audience that is has been “Incredibly effective but they need more money – more people are becoming homeless every day because of rising rents and evictions.”
Tying in the importance of Healthcare reform to ending homelessness, Steve said, “People living on the streets very often have very severe disabilities that require healthcare. We need healthcare for very low income people. We need to make very clear that this needs to be a top priority.”