Support Federal Programs to End Homelessness

Support Federal Programs to End Homelessness

 

To Continuum of Care Leaders in New York State:

 

Please call your Representative and ask them to sing on to the Moore/Green letter to fund McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance at $2.2 billion in this year’s budget:  Also please forward this to the members of your Continuum of Care.  The letter is below:

 

Dear __________,

 

Please sign the Gwen Moore/Al Green letter that urges House and Senate leaders working on the FY 11 Appropriations bill, which is in the form of a Continuing Resolution, to fund McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants at $2.2 billion.  This funding level, which was passed by the House last year and included in the Senate Omnibus, is necessary to implement changes to the program that allow communities to prevent homelessness before it begins.  If this account is left at FY10 level, progress on ending homelessness will be brought to a halt.  The letter also calls for the funding of 10,000 HUD-VASH vouchers for homeless veterans, and 10,000 Housing and Services Demonstration vouchers which will help mainstream housing and health care systems become more adept at ending homelessness.  Please contact Andrew Stevens in Gwen Moore’s office to sign as soon as possible.

 

Support Federal Programs to End Homelessness

 

Dear Colleague:

 

Please join me in writing to House and Senate Appropriations Committee members and leadership regarding funding for critical homeless assistance programs – including the HUD McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants program, HUD-HHS-Education Housing and Services Demonstration Vouchers and HUD-VASH vouchers for homeless veterans.

 

Since the 112th Congress convened there has been robust debate about how to freeze or reduce government spending.  While we may disagree about the merits of the proposals under consideration, we should be able to agree that 650,000 people who are homeless in America on any given night is shameful in a nation as great as ours.  Further, those with differing view points on the role of government spending can find common ground on this issue because failing to invest in solutions to homelessness rarely saves taxpayers a dime; public costs of unsheltered homeless people are just transferred to other costlier emergency systems including emergency rooms and other institutions.

 

Under the Continuing Resolution passed by the House, 161,000 individuals, families, children and veterans will remain homeless rather than being housed as compared to the FY11 T-HUD appropriations bill that passed the House last summer.

 

Limiting funding for homeless programs to FY10 levels would bring a dead stop to Congress’ work to end homelessness – work Republicans and Democrats alike have supported for years, and that is especially important now, as widespread joblessness leaves hardworking Americans without money to pay rent.  McKinney-Vento and HUD-VASH funds, granted to local agencies, have proven effective, with real results in the form of tangible reductions in homelessness.  The Housing and Services Demonstration Vouchers are a very promising combination of HUD and HHS resources to end both chronic and family homelessness.  

 

Please join us in requesting that the final FY 2011 appropriations legislation, no matter what form it takes, provide at least $2.2 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants, $75 million for HUD-VASH vouchers and $85 million for the HUD-HHS-Education Housing and Services Demonstration vouchers as passed by the House in July.

 

Please contact Andrew Stevens at andrew.stevens@mail.house.gov to sign on.

 

Sincerely,

 

GWEN MOORE

 

Member of Congress
The Honorable Speaker John Boehner

 

The Honorable House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

 

The Honorable House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

 

The Honorable Hal Rogers

 

The Honorable Norm Dicks

 

The Honorable Tom Latham                                       

 

The Honorable John Olver

 

The Honorable Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

 

The Honorable Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

 

The Honorable Daniel Inouye

 

The Honorable Thad Cochran

 

The Honorable Senator Patty Murray

 

The Honorable Senator Susan Collins

 

Dear House and Senate Leaders:

 

Thank you for your leadership in recent years by expanding resources for preventing and ending homelessness through HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, the HUD-VASH program for homeless veterans and the HUD-HHS-Education Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration.  As you work to resolve the final appropriations bill for FY 2011, we respectfully urge you to ensure $2.2 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento program, $75 million for the HUD-VASH program, and funding for the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration.   

 

Since the 112th Congress convened there has been robust debate about how to freeze or reduce government spending.  While we may disagree about the merits of the proposals under consideration, we should be able to agree that 650,000 people who are homeless in America on any given night is shameful in a nation as great as ours.  Further, those with differing view points on the role of government spending can find common ground on this issue because failing to invest in solutions to homelessness rarely saves taxpayers a dime; public costs of unsheltered homeless people are just transferred to other costlier emergency systems including emergency rooms and other institutions.

 

Under the Continuing Resolution passed by the House, 161,000 individuals, families, children and veterans will remain homeless rather than being housed as compared to the FY11 T-HUD appropriations bill that passed the House last summer.

 

Limiting funding for homeless programs to FY10 levels would bring a dead stop to Congress’ work to end homelessness – work Republicans and Democrats alike have supported for years, and that is especially important now, as widespread joblessness leaves hardworking Americans without money to pay rent. 

 

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program provides grants to local agencies and has proven effective with real results in the form of tangible reductions in homelessness.  This program has grown under both Republican and Democrat leadership in Congress and the White House not only because of need, but also because of methodical and well-planned approaches by localities to prevent and end homelessness.  McKinney-Vento protects the most vulnerable Americans who often have nowhere else to turn.

 

The HEARTH Act of 2009, which reauthorized the Homeless Assistance Grants program, updated the program to focus on proven strategies based on decades of research, innovation, and experience. Without a funding level of at least $2.2 billion to pay for these new and proven activities, our communities will not be able to implement as many of the HEARTH Act’s changes, particularly those that help prevent homelessness for the thousands of people put at risk because of continuing effects of the recession. D
uring these tough economic times, we know that homelessness is a lagging indicator and has already increased in many communities. We must support lasting solutions to homelessness funded through the Homeless Assistance Grants program. 

 

The HUD-VASH program, which combines a Section 8 voucher from HUD with case management services from the VA, is also a very successful program that is geared towards ending the national tragedy of veterans’ homelessness.  A HUD report released early February 2011 stated that on a single night in January 2009, 75,609 veterans were homeless.  The House-passed Continuing Resolution unwisely struck funding for a new round of 10,000  HUD-VASH vouchers that would end homelessness for an equal number of veterans.  The final legislation should correct this injustice.

 

Finally, the Housing and Services Demonstration Vouchers are a very promising combination of HUD, HHS and Department of Education resources to end both chronic and family homelessness.  The Administration requested $85 million for HUD for 10,000 of these vouchers along with $19 million for HHS to carry out this program.  These vouchers will demonstrate how mainstream programs such as Section 8, Medicaid and TANF can replace boutique funding sources to better serve homeless families and individuals. 

 

The amounts we are requesting were those included in both the House-passed FY 11 T-HUD Appropriations bill, as well as the Senate Omnibus that was under consideration in December.  Thank you for considering this request, and for your continuing support of this important program.

 

Sincerely,

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