Many of you have reached out to your Senators and Members of Congress about the importance of housing and services as potential budget cuts loom. In the weeks before the elections, we need to keep it up!
Let Congress know about the excellent work you are doing ensuring access to supportive housing and tell them how important federal funding is to make your program operational. To help inform your efforts, following is an update from Washington:
I. Regular Appropriations Process
The FY 2013 federal fiscal year began on October 1 without Congress passing any new appropriations legislation to fund federal agencies. To keep the federal government running, Congress passed a six month continuing resolution (CR) to fund programs through March 2013 at approximately the same level as in 2012. This makes the outcome of the November elections for both the presidency and both chambers of Congress even more impactful on funding levels, and deepens the need for advocates to reach out to all candidates for federal office. It will be those who are elected or re-elected in November who will determine how to fund important programs such as McKinney/Vento homeless assistance grants, Section 8 vouchers, SAMHSA homeless services grants and other critical programs.
There is a growing consensus among members of Congress that sequestration would cause great harm, however there is a not agreement on how to stop it. Without action, deep budget cuts will automatically begin taking place in January 2013. The White House’s Office on Management and Budget (OMB) recently released a report of how sequestration would affect key programs that supportive housing advocates care about. The report notes the following cuts:
- $156 million cut to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
- $1.53 billion cut to Section 8 tenant-based vouchers
- $772 million cut to project-based Section 8
- $82 million cut to HOME
- $279m to CDBG
- $275m cut to SAMHSA
Throughout the rest of the election, we need to communicate loudly how harmful cuts to housing and health care programs would be for the most vulnerable Americans. Write letters to newspapers and campaign offices. Set site visits with candidates. Attend town hall meetings prepared to question the candidates on issues that matter to you. CSH offered a complete set of advocacy tips and sample materials, and we’re offering help! Contact our Field Mobilizer Steve Clayton.