Social services advocacy groups are urging people across the country to try to schedule meetings or site visits with their Representatives and Senators when they are home during the congressional recess next week. These meetings will be focused on discussing fiscal year (FY) 2011 funding for critical social services programs.
We need to be sure that homelessness isn't forgotten as part of this wide scale, national effort! The Alliance is encouraging advocates to try to schedule meetings or site visits NEXT WEEK (March 19 to 27) with their Members of Congress to discuss FY 2011 funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program.
Please contact your Senators' and Representatives' LOCAL offices THIS week and try to schedule a meeting as soon as possible. If the Member of Congress himself/herself is unavailable, please try to meet with the staff person who handles housing issues.
What You Can Do:
- Use the sample meeting request form available here to contact your Senators' and Representatives' district offices to request a meeting next week. If you aren't sure who to address the request to, contact Amanda Krusemark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Prepare for the meeting using the sample meeting agenda and talking points available here. Explain the importance of providing an INCREASE in funding for McKinney-Vento programs. If you want additional help preparing, just let us know!
- Let us know which office(s) you contacted and what kind of response you receive by emailing Amanda Krusemark at email@example.com.
The Alliance recently released new toolkits with more information and suggestions for scheduling a congressional meeting or site visit.
This week, Congress is expected to pass an FY 2011 stopgap funding measure to keep the government running through Friday, April 8. The current stopgap measure expires this Friday. Although the new stopgap measure would cut $6 billion compared to FY 2010 levels, it funds nearly all federal housing and homelessness programs at the same level as in FY 2010.
This extension through April 8 will provide congressional leaders with three more weeks to reach a deal on final, compromise FY 2011 legislation. If they can reach a deal, congressional leaders will begin to draft a bill in the coming weeks to fund all federal discretionary programs, including McKinney-Vento programs, for the remainder of FY 2011.
It is CRITICAL that Members of Congress hear from their constituents about the importance of key federal homelessness programs, including McKinney-Vento programs. Members of Congress will be home in their districts March 19-27 for a congressional recess, which provides a GREAT opportunity to discuss these programs. We must make sure Congress understands how important it is to increase funding for these programs, so that communities can make progress implementing the HEARTH Act and addressing the effects of the recession.