Federal Housing and Homelessness Programs Need Your Support! Deadlines Approaching for Three Congressional Dear Colleague Letters

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Federal Housing and Homelessness Programs Need Your Support! Deadlines Approaching for Three Congressional Dear Colleague Letters

April 3, 2013

~NOTE UPDATED DEADLINES~

Three Dear Colleague letters are circulating in Congress supporting programs that are extremely important in developing supportive housing for highly vulnerable people, including people who are long-term homeless and homeless veterans. We need your help TODAY by calling your Representatives and asking them to sign on to letters in support of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program, the HUD-VASH program, and the HOME program.

Please call or email today and ask your Member of Congress to sign:

Call or email today! A sample email can be found here.  The script for a call or email is easy:

“The creation of supportive housing is crucial to achieving our community’s goals of ending homelessness. While many programs are needed to make supportive housing a reality, we urge your support for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program, the HUD-VASH program for homeless veterans, and the HOME program, which provides critical and locally-controlled gap funding. I urge the Representative to sign the Gwen Moore letter in support of McKinney-Vento funding, the Al Green/Michael Grimm/Mike Michaud letter in support of the HUD-VASH program, and the Marcia Fudge letter in support of HUD’s HOME program.”

If you can further explain your position by describing your organization’s work or with supplementary information about the programs that is even better.

Need help?  Want to report your good work?  Please contact our field mobilizer, Steve Clayton.

Additional Information about Each Letter and Program

Moore Letter on McKinney-Vento Funding
Aside from being HUD’s largest program dedicated to assisting people who are homeless, the McKinney-Vento program’s greatest asset is its flexibility.  By allowing funds to be used for capital to build or rehabilitate buildings, to be used for operating subsidies, or to pay for supportive services, it is the single-most important federal program for the maintenance of supportive housing.  Changes to the program under the HEARTH Act will further improve local performance and delivery of services to homeless people and will also expand the ability of the program to serve people who are at-risk of homelessness.

Congressional support for the McKinney-Vento program has been outstanding, recognizing both the overwhelming need as well as the strong performance of grantees.  It was one of few HUD programs to receive a funding increase in the FY13 Continuing Resolution.  Despite the allocation of $2.033 billion – an increase of $101 million over FY12 (prior to across-the-board cuts mandated by sequestration) -- this funding is not sufficient to keep up the momentum of using the program to create new supportive housing units to prevent and end homelessness.  The President's budget, which was released on April 10 requested $2.381 billion, which would be sufficient to fund all renewals, and includes robust funding for rapid rehousing and a modest amount for new supportive housing.  The contact in Rep Moore's office is Sean Gard and the deadline is April 17.

Green/Grimm Letter on HUD-VASH Funding
HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers are a key tool to ending veterans homelessness by combining a Section 8 voucher with case management services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Over 57,000 HUD-VASH vouchers have been funded since 2008 and we’re seeing real results: the latest HUD report showed a 7.2% drop in veterans homelessness in just one year and 17.2% drop since 2009.  A link to how the vouchers have been distributed is available here.  $75 million will allow a new round of 10,000 HUD-VASH vouchers to come to our communities to help end veterans homelessness.  It should be noted that although the program is split between HUD and the VA, that the Office of Budget Management has determined it to be exempt from the cuts mandated under sequestration. The deadline for this letter is April 17 and the contact in Rep. Green’s office is Harmeet Kaur.

Fudge Letter on HOME Funding
HUD’s HOME program allocates money directly to localities for the purpose of investing in affordable housing creation. This flexible funding stream has many important uses, but perhaps none is more important than when it serves as a financing gap-filler to keep a development alive while other funding sources are pulled together. Each dollar of HOME leverages another $4 of other public and private funds. Since its inception, HOME has leveraged more than $88 billion of other funds for affordable housing.

An estimate by CSH found that HOME funding is used in approximately 80% of supportive housing developments.  HOME was funded at $1.6 billion in FY 11 and $1.825 billion in FY 10 and FY09, before being slashed by Congress to $1 billion. The deadline for this letter is April 16 and the contact in Rep. Fudge’s office is Kyle Williams.

 

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