Advocacy Update: Increases to Homeless Assistance Proposed


Advocacy Update | February 16, 2012

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
February 15, 2012

President's Budget Proposal Includes Increases for Homeless Assistance Programs 

On Monday, the Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 Budget Proposal. This document is released annually by the Administration in early February and begins the federal budget process for the upcoming fiscal year.


The President's FY 2013 Budget Proposal includes suggested funding levels for many key programs targeted toward low-income or homeless people, including the following:

  • $2.23 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, a 17 percent increase over the FY 2012 level;
  • $1.35 billion for targeted homeless veteran programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a 33 percent increase over the FY 2012 level;
  • $115 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, the same as in FY 2012; and
  • $19.07 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, including $75 million for about 10,000 new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers.

For more details on the Administration's proposed funding levels, click here.


The Alliance is very excited about the clear commitment the Administration has shown to implementing the HEARTH Act and the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.   

Next Steps

In the coming weeks, Congress will hold hearings on the President's Budget Proposal. Afterward, the House and Senate will begin to craft their FY 2013 appropriations bills.  


What You Can Do

We will be launching major advocacy campaigns in the coming days to support sufficient funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs, RHYA programs, and VA's Zero Homelessness Initiative. If you are interested in participating in any of these campaigns, please email Kate Seif at  


House Committee to Vote on Bill to Expand Definition of Homelessness  
On Tuesday, February 28, the House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to vote on HR 32, which would expand HUD's definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and families who are doubled up. The Alliance is strongly opposed to HR 32, as it aims to meet the needs of doubled up children in the worst possible way - by diverting Continuum of Care resources away from those who have the highest needs and who are literally homeless - sleeping in shelters or on the streets.

Impact of HR 32
Over the course of a year, approximately 350,000 children enter shelter or transitional housing - not counting the estimated 29,000 who are unsheltered on a given night. HUD's Continuum of Care (CoC) programs already lack sufficient resources to serve these children and others who are currently defined as homeless.

In contrast, over the course of a year, an estimated 2.35 million children are doubled up. By expanding the definition, these 2.35 million children and their parents would be eligible to access CoC resources. Since resources would not expand to meet this nearly seven-fold increase in homeless children, this expansion would come at the cost of children, youth, and others who have nowhere else to turn and are sleeping on the streets. The Alliance expects that communities would disproportionately serve doubled up families instead of those sleeping on the streets or in shelters.

What You Can Do: 

  1. Contact your representatives and senators' Washington, DC offices. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues.
  2. Explain your concerns about HR 32. Use the sample letter at the top of this webpage as a guide.
  3. Let us know which office(s) you contacted by emailing Kate Seif at   


More Information

This legislation is well-intentioned but would have disastrous consequences. It would make an estimated additional 2.35 million children (and their parents) eligible to receive transitional housing and other CoC resources without providing any additional resources to serve them.


The Alliance believes in the importance of matching the most intensive interventions to the people with the most intensive needs. Other affordable housing programs - including Section 8 and public housing - need to do a better job of serving people who are doubled up, but CoC programs are designed to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people who have literally no other place to turn.


In addition, under the HEARTH Act, all people who would be addressed by this bill are eligible for homelessness prevention assistance. The new, expanded definition of homelessness has only been in effect since last month, and it is far too soon to throw out the new, compromise definition. For these and other reasons, the Alliance is strongly opposed to HR 32.  


President's Budget Briefing Materials


The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.
Amanda Benton
Director of Policy Outreach 


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