How to take advantage of the August recess

written by Kate Seif
August 15, 2012

This summer, we’ve heard a  lot about how there may not be enough funding in fiscal year (FY) 2013 to cover all Continuum of Care renewals within HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. With the release of the CoC interim rule (HEARTH Regs) and the prolonged August congressional recess and seeming quiet from Capitol Hill, it is easy to forget that this short-funding remains a very real possibility.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty we can do about it! The House’s proposed funding level for the McKinney program of $2.005 billion – aka the increase that isn’t really an increase – is not yet finalized. Anyone concerned about potential funding cuts to their CoC program should act now! Members of Congress are home in their states and districts until Monday, Sept. 10, so advocates and any concerned stakeholders have a perfect opportunity to show them the positive impact these programs are having in their districts!

Conduct a Site Visit!

The Congressional Management Foundation recently reported that Members of Congress rate site visits (tours of or visits to local, federally-funded programs) as one of the most valuable ways to collect constituent views and information. Take this opportunity to join the McKinney Site Visit Campaign and invite your Member of Congress to tour your McKinney-funded program!

To help you plan and execute your visit, we’ve created a website where you can find sample materials and a recording of a webinar held on Thursday, August 2, which included funding updates on the McKinney program and tips and tricks for a successful site visit. Our site visit toolkit includes a checklist to give you an idea of what you might need when planning your visit. In addition, the Alliance is here to help! Just email me with any questions or other requests!

Get on the Map!

To show that this is really a national effort, we have created a map that includes markers on the communities planning or conducting a site visit. A few site visits have already been scheduled! If you’d like to conduct a site visit and get on the map, let me know! If your community or organization is already planning on conducting a visit, but it’s not included on the map, let me know and I’d be more than happy to include it!

We need to make sure that as many Members of Congress understand the great work these programs are doing in preventing and ending homelessness in our community. The best way to do that, and make your case for increased funding for these programs, is to SHOW them!