This week, Congress passed a major deficit reduction package, which will cut more than $2 trillion over the next decade. Yesterday, the Alliance published a blog post on the impact of this package on homelessness.
The most immediate and direct impact of the new legislation, Public Law 112-025, will be that it set the "top-line amount" available to appropriators for their fiscal year (FY) 2012 funding bills. The legislation caps FY 2012 discretionary funding at $7 billion below the final FY 2011 level.
Appropriations committee staff will likely begin drafting the FY 2012 funding bills in the coming weeks, so the next month or so is CRITICAL for ensuring that Congress provides sufficient funding for key homelessness programs, including:
- $2.4 billion for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);
- $75 million for the joint HUD - Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program; and
- $135 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs in the Department of Health and Human Services.
What You Can Do:
Members of Congress are back home in the district through Labor Day for the August congressional recess. The Alliance would love to work with you to either:
- Invite your Members of Congress to tour your homeless assistance program. A site visit is one of THE most effective ways to show your Member of Congress what a great impact your program has on his/her district.
- Demonstrate how effective your program is and how important federal homelessness funding is to your community.
- Use our toolkit for achieving effective site visits as a guide.
- Let us know who you're thinking of inviting by contacting Kate Seif at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Try to schedule a meeting with your Members of Congress while they are in town. Face-to-face meetings with your congressional offices can really drive home the importance of increasing funding for key homelessness programs.
- Explain how important funding for federal homelessness programs is for your community.
- Use our toolkit for conducting successful congressional meetings as a guide
- Contact Kate Seif at email@example.com to let us know which Member(s) of Congress you're trying to meet.
Priority Congressional Targets
All Members of Congress have an opportunity to weigh in with their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee in support of providing $2.4 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs, $75 million for HUD-VASH programs, and $135 million for RHYA programs. However, members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee are the TOP priorities, because they will be directly involved in writing the FY 2012 funding bills.
Because FY 2012 officially begins on October 1, Congress will be eager to advance its appropriations bills in September, so the next month is the best time to impact the bills. If Members of Congress are unable to agree upon a final budget by October 1, they will likely pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, to give them a little more time to finalize the FY 2012 budget.