Public Policy

Public policy, advocacy and lobbying to end homelessness and expand supportive housing in NJ.

Spend July 30th in DC to help end homelessness in NJ!

The New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness will hold the Second Annual Congressional Reception on July 30, 2008 starting at 1:30 PM and ending at 3:30 PM. Please plan to arrive by 1 PM.

This year’s event will be held at the following location:

Russell Senate Office Building
Room SR-385
Constitution Avenue and First Street, SE
Washington D.C.

At least three buses will be chartered to help transport participants to the Congressional Reception.

To register online for the Congressional Reception and the bus click here. If you are unable to access this form click here to send an email.

Click here for a Save the Date form.

The New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness’ mission is to advocate on a federal level for adequate funding for permanent affordable and supportive housing for homeless individuals and families.

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Advocacy Network seeks members to end homelessness in NJ

The New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness’ mission is to advocate on a federal level for adequate funding for permanent affordable and supportive housing for homeless individuals and families. The New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness is a statewide organization that coordinated its First Annual Congressional Reception on July 11, 2007. New Jersey was well represented by more…

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Opening Doors highlights Section 811 reform bill

Over the last month we have posted several articles about the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 (HR 5772). This is a program worth saving and the proposed legislation will ensure its continued success. We are pleased to share the current issue of Opening Doors that provides information on this important issue. Click here to read our previous posts. Click here to read Opening Doors in PDF or here to read it online.

In addition to reading this blog, to ensure that you receive regular Action Alerts on this important legislation, please contact the following individuals: Andrew Sperling, National Alliance on Mental Illness or Liz Savage, The ARC of the United States.

The following is the first few paragraphs of this important issue of Opening Doors.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force (CCD Housing Task Force) and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. (TAC) are pleased to announce that on April 10, 2008, Representatives Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Judy Biggert (R-IL) jointly introduced groundbreaking permanent supportive housing legislation – the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 (HR 5772) – in the U.S. House of Representatives. This critically important legislation will help address the enormous and unrelenting housing crisis faced by millions of extremely low-income people with disabilities and will spur the creation of thousands more new 811 units every year by:

    Authorizing a new Section 811 Demonstration Program that fulfills the promise of true community integration as envisioned in the Americans with Disabilities Act; and

    Enacting long overdue reforms and improvements to the existing Section 811 production program essential for the program’s long-term viability.

Historically, the Section 811 program has been one of the most successful programs available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create new supportive housing units. However, the future of Section 811 is being jeopardized by an outdated statute and program models, excessive HUD bureaucracy, and rapidly declining production levels.

For the fourth year in a row, HUD has proposed drastic budget cuts for the Section 811

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Farm bill to help the hungry in NJ

Last week Congress conference agreement on 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements in domestic food assistance programs to help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices. The changes could provide an additional $9 million in the next fiscal year and could assist an additional 211,000 people by 2012.

The following is from an analysis by Dorothy Rosenbaum for the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. To read her full report click here. To read our prior posts on hunger click here.

The nutrition title of the conference agreement includes more than $10 billion over ten years in increases in these programs – including $7.8 billion for the Food Stamp Program, $1.26 billion for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and $1 billion for the free fresh fruits and vegetable snack program, which is targeted to schools with high shares of low- income families.

The nutrition title of the farm bill would:

End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps by raising and indexing for inflation the program’s standard deduction and minimum benefit.

These changes would help about 11 million low income people, including families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. With these changes, Food Stamp Program rules would fully account for annual inflation for the first time since the program’s creation over 40 years ago, and food stamp households would stop losing food purchasing power each year.

Support working-poor families by eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction,

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Foreclosed hope

Last Thursday the House of Representatives passed two bills to address the growing foreclosure crises. The White House has signaled it will veto at least one and possibly both bills. The votes in the House are not enough to override either bill. To read all of our posts on the foreclosure crisis click here. To read our post on the legislation click here.

H.R. 3221: Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, passed by a vote of 266-154. The legislation, according to the NACEED, “includes modernization of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, legislation to create a new independent regulator for the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and legislation that would authorize FHA to insure $300 billion in new, affordable long-term mortgages that refinance qualified subprime loans.”

Several of the provisions of H.R. 5720, the “Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008” were incorporated into the bill Among the provision is a $10 billion increase in the tax-exempt private activity bond volume cap to enable local and state housing agencies to refinance qualified subprime loans, serve other first-time homebuyers, it would allow investors in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fully claim those credits against the Alternative Minimum Tax and provide a $.20 per capita increase in the volume cap for LIHTC’s for 2008 and 2009 as well as several refinements to the LIHTC program.

H.R. 5818 Neighborhood Stabilization Act of 2008, passed by a vote of 239-188. This bill requires the

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COAH proposes new third round rules

On May 6, 2008, the Council on Affordable Housing also proposed amendments to the recently adopted revised third round rules (N.J.A.C. 5:96 and N.J.A.C. 5:97) and the procedural rules for municipalities certified before January 25, 2007 (N.J.A.C. 5:95). The proposed rules are scheduled to be published in the NJ Register on June 16, 2008. Upon publication, written comments can be…

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Side by Side Comparison of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008

C-C-D

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has issued a side by side comparison of the current Section 811 program and the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 which will reform HUD’s Section 811 program. This is an important legislative initiative. According to CCD “by enacting the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008, Congress can ensure that a reinvigorated Section 811 program is ready to create thousands of new permanent supportive housing units every year without needing to double or triple appropriation levels.” The side by side comparison provides an excellent overview of the benefits of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008.

To read the full legislation click here.

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Support needed for Permanent Housing and Solutions Focus to McKinney Reauthorization

There is a growing movement across New Jersey that believes that ending homelessness is not a dream but something that we can and must do. The time to act on a national level on this issue is now. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness “we have an incredible opportunity to expand funding and programs for permanent housing solutions to homelessness with the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program. Let’s get the strongest bill we can with high priority on housing solutions to homelessness.”

The following is information from an important Advocacy Update from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Please review and contact your member of Congress today! To find out how to contact you House member click here. For a summary of the legislation click here.

What Can You Do:

Please call your House Member, especially those on the Financial Services Committee, and ask him or her to contact Rep. Maxine Waters the Chair of the Subcommittee with jurisdiction over this legislation and Rep Shelly Moore Capito who is the Ranking Member in support of the Manager’s Amendment to the HEARTH Act.

Why we must act now!

House: The House legislation, HR 840, the HEARTH (Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing) Act was introduced by the late Representative Julia Carson (D-IN) with lead Republican Representative Geoff Davis (R-KY) in February 2007. Two hearings were held in October. It is the intention of the Financial Services Committee to hold a markup of legislation in the next few weeks. Rep Waters, Chair of the Subcommittee with jurisdiction (Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity of the Financial Services Committee), will offer a manager’s amendment making significant changes to the HEARTH Act and greatly improving its impact on the goal of ending homelessness.

Senate: S 1518, the Community Partnership to End Homelessness Act, was introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) with lead Republican Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) in May 2007, passed the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and awaits action on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

The goal is to ensure the two pieces of legislation are similar to enable quicker enactment and a permanent solutions focus.

What will the manager’s amendment do?

It promotes permanent housing as the solution to homelessness by:

    Funding permanent housing renewals from the account that funds Section 8 vouchers which would provide stability for renewals as well as free up funding for other new projects.
    Makes law the practice of establishing a 30 percent set aside for permanent housing for people with disabilities, including both individuals and families.

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Hunger in New Jersey

We have posted several important articles about hunger on the Moanrch Housing Blog! over the last year. This Monday we published Perfect storm leaves cupboards bare at NJ food pantries! Obviously hunger is an important issue, which with rising food prices is being exacerbated. Bill Moyer’s April 11th Journal – Hunger in America – on PBS gives great insight on…

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