Ending Homelessness Today — Policy and Legislation
A Capitol Hill Day Experience
July 22, 2010
Today’s blog comes from Alison Eisinger, who participated in Capitol Hill Day, working with her members Congress to help advance the homelessness cause. Read below fro an account of her experience.
Our group was made of roughly 20 people from our state at the conference, and about 8 of us went on hill visits on Wednesday. I was very glad to have had a chance to experience hill visits in April, and knew a little bit what to expect. It did feel as though everyone else on these visits was a seasoned veteran, but at least I had some experience to draw on! We had such excellent packets prepared for us by the NAEH staff -- everything we needed to be able to carry out the visit was in there.
We spoke primarily about fully funding McKinney, about Section 8 vouchers, and about the fact that we see growing demand for services and shrinking resources at the local level.
We had a nice mixture of people, including someone from local government (City Office of Housing), someone who works with a large local funder of services and housing for homeless families, a woman who runs survival services in a rural part of the state, and the ED of a private social service organization and day labor agency (which does not accept public funds but sees the urgent need for federal funding and policies that help end homelessness), as well as someone from the major homelessness advocacy group in the County (me). Good range of people to offer their take on these issues to the staffers.
I came prepared to invite both Senators and their staff to specific events in our state during the August recess, and I plan to write a thank you note to each of them that repeats that invitation. I surprised myself by doing something I hadn't planned to do, namely inviting Senator Murray during the Wednesday morning coffee to attend our backpack-stuffing day for Project Cool for Back-to-School. I did not want to put her on the spot, but it seemed like a nice opportunity to let her know that we appreciated her work on behalf of children who are homeless.
What happened really surprised me -- two other constituents who were at the morning coffee came up to say that they wanted to help, too -- one was a school nurse in two districts in our County with high numbers of children who are homeless, and one was a psychotherapist in private practice with children and adolescents. They were both visiting with their children and husbands (who were at different conventions in town), and both immediately gave me their contact information. The nurse told me that she struggles when a child comes to her with a stomach ache, and she knows she has to ask when the child last ate something, knowing that in some cases it may be two days ago. Her school sends children home with backpacks filled with food for the weekend, but she wants to do more. And, Sen. Murray's education staffer was standing right there, so they got to hear that it's not only the people who came for the NAEH conference who care a lot about this issue. Sarah Bolton was very gracious, and asked me to follow up with her about the invitation to the Senator.
Thank you to the NAEH conference folks for helping to offset the costs of registration for me. It made a big difference for our small o... Read More »
Three Cheers to You!!
July 21, 2010
Update: This morning, the Senate T-HUD subcommittee ultimately agreed with President Obama’s FY 2011 budget proposal and recommended $2.055 billion for McKinney-Vento programs. Stay tuned for more!
This morning, we made a big hullaballoo about the House Appropriations Committee’s decision to allocate $2.2 billion to McKinney-Vento programs. Departing from long-standing tradition, the House Appropriations Committee decided to increase funding levels to $2.2 billion - $145 million more than proposed by both the House T-HUD subcommittee and President Obama.
While the federal budget process could hardly be described as riveting, this particular action is truly unique. Rarely do the Appropriations Committees on either the Senate or House side depart from the recommendations of their subcommittees. And – of all the programs and initiatives and projects the Appropriations Committee considered (and there are a lot - members decided to give just the McKinney-Vento programs an extra monetary boost.
What does this mean? If nothing else, it means they’re paying attention – to YOU.
The Alliance has a small but mighty advocacy force – an elite group of superadvocates who work with our mobilization team to engage in year-long, ongoing, regular campaigns to inform, educate, and persuade federal lawmakers. It’s not glamorous – and it’s not always easy – but calls, emails, in-person visits, and persistence is what it takes to make changes like the one we saw today in the House Appropriations Committee.
And it’s not just action – it’s informed action. The Alliance arms our friends and colleagues wi... Read More »
McKinney-Vento Appropriations: Understanding the Process
July 21, 2010
A special blogpost today because the House Appropriations Committee proposed bumping the FY 2011 McKinney-Vento budget from $2.055 to $2.2 billion!
If that first sentence made no sense to you, you're not alone. But we're hoping this post helps you wrap your mind around the federal budget process.
We've written about fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) funding a few times now on this blog - usually asking YOU to contact your members of Congress to ensure that homeless assistance programs (McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants primary among them) receive adequate funding.
And we've been asking you to do that because RIGHT NOW - right this very moment - Congress is making decisions about the federal budget.
From February (when the President releases a proposed budget) to whenever-Congress-gets-around-to-deciding, the House and the Senate meet in their committees and subcommittees to decide how much money should go into federal programs, agencies, and departments.
And as you can imagine, this is no small task. President Obama's proposed FY 2011 is $3.8 trillion dollars - you try deciding how that money should be spent! For their part, Members consider a wide breadth of factors, including the President's proposed budget, their own legislative priorities, issues of interest to home districts and constituents, national concerns (like the economy!), and a wealth of other things.
So it basically goes down like this:
Subcommittees (12, to be precise) review portions of the bill pertinent to them. In our case, the House and Senate Transportation - Housing and... Read More »
Capitol Hill Day Success
July 19, 2010
Today’s blog post comes from our Federal Advocacy intern, Sumeet Singh.
Every year, Capitol Hill Day offers a time for advocates of ending homelessness to sit down with their Senators and Representatives and discuss pressing and pertinent issues regarding homelessness. In doing so, it also provides another great opportunity – a chance for these passionate advocates to come together and have their voices heard. This year, those voices were heard as loudly as ever before – advocates from 40 states and Guam held over 215 meetings with Congressional offices, and the results are still pouring in! With every additional meeting, the value and effectiveness of Hill Day 2010 increase that much more. We’ll do a follow-up blog post in a few weeks once we have finalized all of the results. In its decades-long existence, Hill Day’s track record of spreading knowledge, creating awareness, and igniting political movement clearly demonstrates just how powerful a tool it has been.
This year, Hill Day became even stronger.
Take the story of our advocates from Maine as an example. Six years ago, before our current group was involved, the Maine Congressional Delegation was largely unaware and unconcerned with homelessness issues. However, in the years since the Maine advocates have been active in Hill Day events, several Members of Congress from the state, including both Senators, have become champions of the issue. Thanks to our State Captains and Hill Day Participants, stories like this one are becoming more comm... Read More »
What Happened to the Tax Extenders Bill?
June 29, 2010
The Alliance blog has talked before about what is formally known as the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (HR 4213), but is often called the “tax extenders bill”.
The bill would include funding for a number of programs, but there are two that interest us: the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) and the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).
The TANF ECF is this extra pool of money helped TANF support more families during the recession and we were looking to have it renewed so that more support would be available. For more information about the TANF ECF (and family homelessness!) check out yesterday’s blogpost.
The second is the NHTF, a program created under President Bush to create affordable housing. Unfortunately, when the program was created, no money was allocated to it (it’s pretty hard to develop affordable housing with no money, FYI). The tax extenders bill would fund (we call that “capitalize”) NHTF – and more affordable housing means fewer people experiencing homelessness.
Unfortunately, last Thursday, June 24th, the House-approved bill was shut down in the Senate, with a 57 to 41 vote (60 votes were needed to pass it). Republicans and some others claimed to have withheld support because portions of the bill remained unfunded. No timeline was set as to when the tax extenders bill would be picked back up.
All in all, this means that we don’t know if the programs we mentioned will be receiving funding or if these pro... Read More »
The political commitment to ending veterans homelessness
May 21, 2010
Today, our Vice President of Programs and Policy Steve Berg went up to the Hill to attend a joint hearing including the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development. The joint hearing examined the nation’s progress in ending veterans homelessness.
Currently, there are about 131,000 veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States, representing about one-fifth of the entire homeless population on any given night. Veterans often experience homeless as a result of post-war distress, including emotional or physical trauma which can manifest in diseases, including substance abuse and addiction.
In our last Veterans Update, we presented the challenges to women veterans as a new emerging component of this issue. As women continue to make up a greater percentage of the armed forces, we take greater note of their particular vulnerability to and experience with homelessness. There is also a growing body of evidence that indicates that female veterans have a higher risk of homelessness as compared to their male counterparts – some speculate that this may have to do with a greater incidence of sever housing cost burden, lower incomes, higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, among others contributors.
In recent months, both Secretary Shinseki of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and President Obama have come out strongly with intentions to reduce and end veterans homelessness in the United States. Secretary Shinseki has publicly announced the VA’s intent to end v... Read More »
Call Congress today: Fund the National Housing Trust Fund!
May 20, 2010
It's time to act! Homelessness is complicated, but in the end, we believe that people are homeless because they can't find housing they can afford. Today, there is something YOU can do about it.The National Housing Trust Fund aims create 1.5 million units of affordable housing within ten years - and tomorrow, the House will debate H.R. 4213, which would fund NHTF with $1 billion. With your help, the bill will move on to the Senate next week. (H.R. 4213 also includes funding for a variety of programs that low-income Americans need, including the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund. More info is available here).Here's what you can do:1. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.2. Ask for your Congressional Representative. If you're not sure who that is, you can find out here.3. Ask for the staffer who works on housing.4. Urge them to continue their support for preventing and ending homelessness in your community by voting YES on H.R. 4213. Here's what you can say:I am deeply concerned about homelessness in my community, but I know the way to end homelessness is to house people. I'm calling to ask you to fund the National Housing Trust Fund.The National Housing Trust Fund is critical for efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The majority of the people who enter the homeless system have experienced some sort of crisis that causes them to lose their housing. At least 75% of NHT... Read More »
What you should know about the Runaway Homeless Youth Act
May 12, 2010
Maybe you read in USA Today that the number of calls to the National Runaway Switchboard doubled in 2009. Maybe you've heard that running away from home puts young people at risk of violence, crime, prostitution, drugs and health problems. Maybe you're an outreach worker who hears these stories every day. If, for these or any other reasons, you're concerned about youth homelessness, you should know about the Runaway Homeless Youth Act (RHYA). Along with the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Act, RHYA is one of two federal programs aimed at helping homeless youth.There are 3 main RHYA programs:The Basic Center Program, which helps meet immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families including providing emergency shelter, reunification when possible, food, clothing, counseling, and access to health care;The Transitional Living Program, which provides funding long-term residential services to homeless youth ages 16 to 21 for up to 18 months;The Street Outreach Program, which funds outreach efforts designed to move youth off the streets.Particularly in these tough economic times, these programs are crucial. Not only do they prevent victimization on the streets, but they are more cost-effective than foster care or a correctional facility. And still, current programs do not meet the need: in 2009, RHYA programs served less than 41,000 with shelter services and less than 4,000 received transitional housing. Over 7,500 youth were turned away and denied shelter and housing.We at the Alliance are now looking to Congress... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: talking TANF and Ten Year Plans
May 07, 2010
It's been another seriously busy week at the Alliance. Not only did we recognize the formation of the new Congressional Caucus on Homelessness and launch a brand-new website, we also put out the latest Community Snapshot, which highlights the progress in Alameda County, CA. They've reduced homelessness by 15% since 2003. Find out how they did it here.This week on the Change.org End Homelessness blog, blogger Jessica Rowshandel also discussed news about the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness briefing. Plus, they featured a post by our very own Catherine An! On Off the Charts, the Center on Budget names yet another reason for Congress to extend the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund: it's helping create jobs for more than 180,000 people across the U.S. That's in addition to preventing families from ending up homeless by providing income and short-term rent assistance. (Read our latest on the Emergency Contingency Fund here. The Center for American Progress was also talking TANF this week - check out what they have to say about changing TANF asset tests. And let's end on some good news: Memphis, a city where 1600 people experience homelessness each night, just announced that they've created a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. Hats off to Memphis! Plus, Cape Cod's Point in Time Count showed a 10% decrease in the number of people experiencing homelessness.... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: the latest on HPRP, homeless female veterans and counts
April 30, 2010
If you've never read UNITY of Greater New Orleans blog Signs of Life in Greater New Orleans, do it now. This post highlights the complex issues many chronically homeless people face, as well as their dedication to finding each and every person a place to call home. Last week, UNITY GNO took home our Nonprofit Achievement Award and this week, let's continue to celebrate their work.Although we've been discussing programs like the National Housing Trust Fund and the Housing and Services Demonstration Program, our key federal priorities are still on our minds. Here's some updates:The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program is one with transformative potential, and an initiative we've covered extensively on this blog. The latest on the significance of HPRP comes from from Change.org's End Homelessness blog. Blogger Steven Samra writes:The beauty of HPRP over the few other sources of assistance available is that agencies participating in HPRP are able to help remove the huge barriers to housing that people who are newly homeless often face.We've been paying particular attention to the struggles facing female veterans experiencing homelessness, and it looks like the federal government is, too. The Department of Labor announced a $5 million dollar grant for reintegration initiatives this week, while one former servicewoman in Florida moved into her new home. We're also keeping a close eye on data released from January Point in Time counts. This week Dallas announced that despite... Read More »
Affordable Housing: For many Americans, it's Out of Reach
April 21, 2010
Today, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released Out of Reach, an annual analysis of the cost of rental housing in the United States. In order to understand the report, it’s important to establish two things: “Fair Market Rent” refers to the national average cost of a rental unit; it usually refers to a two-bedroom unit. ”Housing Wage” refers to the hourly wage a person must earn – working full-time – in order to afford Fair Market Rent. The report found that a family needs to earn $18.44 per hour in order to afford a modest rental, two-bedroom home in the United States. This amounts to $38,360 per year - $16,310 more than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Key findings of the report include: In 2010, the estimated average wage for renters in the United States is $14.44 – a decline from $14.69 in 2009;At the federal minimum wage of $7.25, a household would have top work 102 hours a week to afford the national average FMR;There is no county in the United States in which a full-time minimum wage worker can afford even a one-bedroom apartment at FMR.The report also found that the two-bedroom Housing Wage topped $20 in 10 states, including the District of Columbia, California, New York, Florida, and Hawaii. The five most expensive metro areas included San Francisco (CA), Honolulu (HI), Stamford-Norwalk (CT), San Cruz-Watsonville (CA), and Westchester County (NY) – the housing wage for each of those areas topped $30 per hour. In their report, the... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Elderly homelessness, the Census, and even some good news
April 02, 2010
Policymakers can consider themselves warned: in 10 years, homelessness among the elderly population will have increased dramatically unless they take action. Along with our own report, The Rising Elderly Population, the AARP's Public Policy Institute and the Center for Housing Policy also released a study this week on Strategies to Meet the Housing Needs of Older Adults. It even comes with an online toolkit to help make these strategies into reality.Although predictions about elderly homelessness are a cause for serious concern, there has been some good news in headlines about homelessness this week:In San Francisco, a new 56-unit development for formerly homeless individuals opened its doors this week. 149 Mason Street also offers a host of services, including an on-site medical clinic. Two officials in Ventura County, CA are working to invest extra revenue in homeless assistance, including start-up money for a housing trust fund. The Cleveland Homeless blog reported on a study by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless that shows despite increasing unemployment and an increasing difficult housing market, homelessness has only risen slightly due to a solid network of prevention and emergency services. The Huffington Post featured a story about a mother with two children who recently moved into permanent supportive housing after escaping domestic violence.And it's census week! We shared some neat trivia on our blog as census workers visited emergency shelters, free meal sites, and outdoor areas like parking lots in an attempt to g... Read More »
Reoprt out today: Homelessness among the elderly to rise 33% by 2020
April 01, 2010
According to The Rising Elderly Population, the latest report from our own Homelessness Research Institute, homelessness among the elderly is set to increase 33% between 2010 and 2010.I sat down with MWilliam Sermons, director of HRI, to talk about the report, specifically our recommended solutions to the increasingly urgent problem of elderly homelessness.Liz: These projections are pretty dire. What can we do to start curbing elderly homelessness now?Bill: I think the primary thing that can be done right now is to trying shore up affordable housing programs on which elderly persons rely.There's a mix between project-based Section 8, housing choice vouchers, Section 202, Section 515. Because elderly persons have a diverse range of needs, they utilize a diverse range of federal programs and local programs. So I think it’s really critical that the housing stock in these programs be preserved.Bill: It’s also critical that new housing units be created moving forward. Federal policy definitely has to move in a direction such that we’re dramatically expanding the availability of affordable housing that elderly persons rely on.I also think that one of the things that’s critical from a homelessness perspective is that the job of ending chronic homelessness be completed. The projection is that there will be a 33% increase in elderly homelessness between 2010 and 2020 and a lot of the people that are chronically homeless now are in the "older adult but not yet elderly" category.So the success that we... Read More »
New NHC President and CEO Maureen Friar on the past, present and future of affordable housing
March 30, 2010
Today's guest post is from Maureen Friar, the new President and CEO of the National Housing Conference. We asked her some of the most pressing questions in the field. Here's what she said:Where do we – as a national community – stand on the issue of affordable housing? Where should we go from here? Our country still faces a huge affordable housing problem. Housing is not affordable for many segments of our society, including low-income households and working families. In addition, when the cost of transportation is combined with the cost of housing, households are finding it even harder to make ends meet. With the recent downturn in economy, collapse of the financial markets, and the overextension of credit, the number of foreclosures continues to rise, affecting millions in our communities. According to our research affiliate the Center on Housing Policy’s newest Paycheck to Paycheck study, between 2008 and 2009, home prices rose or held steady in 90 (44 percent) out of 207 metropolitan areas. Over the same time period, the income needed to purchase a median-priced home decreased in 193 of these metro areas (93 percent). As well known to NAEH, we have made great strides in ending chronic homelessness, but many still are without a home. People are also living in substandard housing and families often are doubled- and tripled- up, which adds to the affordable housing crisis.We must work with the Administration and Congress as one national community to implement measures to halt forec... Read More »
Why healthcare reform matters in the fight against homelessness
March 22, 2010
Yesterday marked an important moment in American legislative history. Last night (so late it was almost early this morning), the U.S. House of Representatives passed health care reform legislation. The hotly-contested legislation endured fierce debate up to the very end, and the final bill passed without any Republican support. While it may not be readily apparent, the health care reform bill has a significant effects on the homeless population. Among many other things, this legislation expands Medicaid eligibility to include people with incomes of up to 133 percent of the poverty level, covering nearly all people experiencing homelessness. Moreover, the legislation will also provide approximately $10 billion for community health centers for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 through 2015. Typically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocates 8.7 percent of total community health center funding toward the Health Care for the Homeless program, which can be used to provide services to people in permanent supportive housing. The health care legislation also expands early childhood home visitation programs, which provide parent education, child development, and support services to low-income, at-risk young children and their families. President Obama has said he plans to sign the legislation on Tuesday, March 23.P.S. We made the video above last summer, when the healthcare reform debate was just heating up, but it still does a pretty adequate job of wrapping up how the two are related and why health care reform matters to homelessness. Let us know what... Read More »
Call Congress today to increase funding for services to the homeless: Do it now!
March 16, 2010
Do your part to ensure homeless assistance programs have adequate funding! Take the next step in our McKinney-Vento Appropriations campaign by calling your Congressional Representative right now.Tomorrow is the last day YOUR federal Representative can sign the McKinney-Vento Appropriations Congressional Sign-On Letter. The letter – already being circulated in Congress - requests that McKinney-Vento programs receive $2.4 billion for the 2011 fiscal year.As you already know, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs are the cornerstone of the federal investment in preventing and ending homelessness – funding federal efforts, state plans, and providing financial assistance to your own, local programs. We need the estimated $2.4 billion to keep those local programs working and make the changes outlined in the HEARTH Act.So here’s what you do:1) Call the Congressional Switchboard at (202)224-3121.2) Ask for your Representative.If you don't know who that is, you can find out here.35 Representatives are already signatories, and you can find out if yours is one by clicking here. (If your Congressperson has already signed on, call to say thanks!)3) Ask for the staffer who works on housing issues.4) Here's what you can say:I am calling to ask if your boss will support a funding level of $2.4 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program in FY 2011. Specifically, I would like Representative (______) to sign a Congressional sign-on letter regarding this funding request, which is being circulated by Representatives Moore (D-WI) and Davis (R-KY).HUD's McKinney program is the primary... Read More »
Senate passes latest version of the Jobs Bill, but HPRP funding is nowhere to be found
February 24, 2010
Okay – so we’re going to take some time to talk about something a tad bit boring…and pretty important. That’s right: Congress.This just in: the Senate just passed the first piece of the Jobs bill (recap: once upon a time, there was one giant Senate Jobs bill. But some people thought it’d be better to break it up into a bunch of little bills). This $15 billion bill is focused primarily on providing tax credits for employers who are hiring – and especially hiring the unemployed. More, similar legislation will be coming down the pike, but no where in the distance is one key element that we – the Alliance and homeless asisistance providers and advocates – are looking for. Additional funding for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). As a part of the Jobs Bill, we at the Alliance are hoping for $1 billion. Here's why:The unemployment outlook has worsened significantly since HPRP was created last year, which puts more people in danger of becoming homeless. It was designed to help 600,000 people, but communities are finding there are more people who need assistance than we'd planned for. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), communities from states - including California, Michigan, Nebraska, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, and South Carolina - have reported that there are far more families who are homeless or at-risk than there is money to help them get back on their feet. An ... Read More »
Weigh in on the Federal Plan to End Homelessness at our Annual Conference
January 28, 2010
The federal government has never before had a plan to end homelessness but for the first time, one is in the works. What's more, attendees at the Alliance 2010 Conference on Ending Family Homelessness will be able to give input on the plan. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness will host a forum for audience members to offer comments and suggestions about what should be included in the Federal plan on Friday, February 12 from 7:30am-8:45am."It's a great chance for people to stand up and say something," says Norm Suchar, Alliance Senior Policy Analyst.The HEARTH Act, passed in May of 2009, requires that the Interagency Council develop a plan to end homelessness, which is scheduled to be submitted to Congress in May of this year. The conference forum is one of many listening sessions that the Council is conducting with service providers and advocates. The plan will be comprehensive, covering all federal agencies, particularly HUD, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education. It will pay particular attention to solving homelessness among four populations: the chronically homeless, veterans, families and youth.According to Suchar, in order to be successful, the federal plan must include measurable outcomes and goals, as well as accountability, so that people and departments know whether they are meeting those goals. What would you like to see in the federal plan to end homelessness?... Read More »
Notes from Nan: The Healthcare-Homelessness Connection
October 19, 2009
Happy Monday, everyone!
In case you didn't catch it, we're posting Nan Roman's Huffington Post blog on here, entitled "the Healthcare-Homelessness Connection," - a look into how the current health care debate is affected by homelessness, and vice versa.
The Healthcare-Homelessness Connection
While health care reform is being hotly debated across the nation, one of the groups most likely to be affected by reform has been characteristically silent: people who are homeless.
It's a common misconception that everybody living in poverty is eligible for Medicaid -- in truth, there are many poor people who are not currently eligible for Medicaid. Non-disabled, childless adults -- even those with health problems -- are often not eligible. The same applies to mothers with health conditions whose children have been placed in foster care, and young adults aging out of the foster care system.
In fact, a 1996 nationwide study of homelessness found that only 25 percent of homeless single adults were enrolled in Medicaid.
It's not always easy to see, but homelessness and health care have a clear -- and cyclical -- relationship: poor health can lead to homelessness, and homelessness can aggravate poor health. And both can be a burden on our health care system.
Many people become homeless due to a lack of health care. Untreated illnesses can lead to disability and job loss -- and unemployment remains one of the leading causes of homelessness. It's worth noting here that the leading cause... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Medicaid and the Health Care Debate
October 16, 2009
Happy Friday, everyone! Apologies for the long absence.
This week, in the Friday News Roundup, we thought we'd share a bit of Alliance news about - what else - the health care debate.
On October 15, Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Brown (D-OH), and Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a coordinated care Medicaid program as part of health reform: the REDUCE Act (Reduce Emergency Department Utilization through Coordination and Empowerment Act). As we've explained before in our video, Medicaid is a key priority for the Alliance in ensuring that the interests of those experiencing homelessness are considered in the health care debate.
Now – the Alliance is working to help attain additional Senators to co-sponsor (officially sign-on in support of) co-sponsor the bill.
This legislation would:
Improve health outcomes for people who are homeless and have multiple disabling conditions;
Allow participating states to reimburse supportive housing providers for all of the primary health care and behavioral health services that people need to remain safely housed; and
Improve future Medicaid benefits packages by tracking and evaluating reductions in hospitalizations or institutional admissions and use of emergency health services.
To be attached to health reform, the REDUCE Act will likely be offered as an amendment when the Senate votes on health care reform legislation. Before health care legislation can proceed to the Senate floor, though, the Senate Finance committee’s version must be combined with the version of the legislation passed this summer by the Senate Health, Education, Lab... Read More »