Advocacy Update: Quarterly Report


Advocacy Update | July 3, 2012

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
July 2, 2012

Quarterly Report: Announcements and Recap 

This Quarterly Report includes a preview of key upcoming activities for advocates through September, as well as a review of major developments from the last quarter. Specifically, this issue reviews:

  • Upcoming McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign;  
  • Supreme Court's Decision on the Affordable Care Act;   
  • Capitol Hill Day 2012;  
  • FY 2013 Appropriations Update; and 
  • Congressional Briefings.  
McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign to Secure Increased Resources

On August 2 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the Alliance will host a webinar entitled "McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign," featuring the Alliance's Steve Berg, Vice President of Programs and Policy, and Kate Seif, Program and Policy Staff Person. The webinar will provide further details on the fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding level for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including information on how the funding level proposed by the House of Representatives is insufficient to cover all Continuum of Care (CoC) renewals and existing Emergency Solutions Grants activities.  


In addition, the webinar will launch a site visit campaign encouraging advocates to host their Members of Congress for a site visit of their McKinney-funded programs during the August congressional recess or other times throughout the fall. For more information on the webinar, and to register, please click here.  

Supreme Court Upholds Key Parts of Affordable Care Act; Raises Questions about Medicaid 


Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the Affordable Care Act, the 2014 expansion of Medicaid is settled federally and homeless advocates can plan and update their strategies with more certainty. Altogether, 16 million more people would be eligible, including 2 million with substance use disorders and another 1-2 million with mental illnesses. Virtually all homeless people who have not qualified for Medicaid disability programs in the past would be able to enroll in at least basic health coverage.

Medicaid coverage could help vulnerable individuals get the care they need in appropriate settings, rather than relying on emergency rooms. Further, additional Medicaid funding in states can give homeless assistance systems more capacity and more flexibility to address chronic homelessness


It is up to states to make this benefit real. The Supreme Court ruling - on paper - allows states to opt out of Medicaid expansion entirely.  States that opt out would be leaving large numbers of impoverished citizens without access to health coverage, and passing up generous federal subsidies. Those subsidies consist of federal payment of 100 percent of costs for the first three years, phasing down over the next three years, but never going below 90 percent for the newly-covered group. In fact, a number of states have already moved to prepare for these and other Medicaid changes. Three jurisdictions - Minnesota, Connecticut, and Washington, DC - have already expanded coverage under an ACA provision for early implementation. 


State advocacy will matter even more in the next year. Homeless advocates need to pay careful attention to developments in their states and engage with mainstream advocates for states to take full advantage of the Medicaid changes in the ACA. Speakers with hands-on experience and up-to-date policy knowledge will present on these topics at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in July in Washington, DC.


Below is a list of selected online resources for further information:   

Capitol Hill Day 2012

On Wednesday, July 18, the Alliance will host Capitol Hill Day 2012 in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness. Capitol Hill Day brings together service providers, state and local officials, and local and national stakeholders to educate congressional offices about issues related to preventing and ending homelessness. During last year's Capitol Hill Day, nearly 400 people from 41 states attended about 270 congressional meetings. For Capitol Hill Day 2012, participants from more than 40 states will meet with their congressional offices.

Capitol Hill Day is driven in part by a set of policy priorities - those issues that the Alliance believes are the most significant policy issues related to ending homelessness Congress is working on now on which we can have an impact. On Tuesday, July 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET, the Alliance will host a Policy Update Webinar to review the latest updates and key talking points for each of these policy issues. To register, click here.

For more information about Capitol Hill Day 2012, please contact Maulin Shah at  

Congress Makes Progress on FY 2013 Appropriations

Over the past quarter, both the House and Senate made a great deal of progress on their FY 2013 appropriations legislation.



On Friday, the House passed the FY 2013 funding bill for HUD, which included $2.005 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs. On the floor, representatives added $5 million for CoC programs. With a funding level of $2.005 billion, there would be insufficient funds to renew all CoC grants, and about 25,000 people would be homeless instead of housed. For a full list of key programs included in the House's HUD funding bill, please click here.  


In May, the House approved FY 2013 legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which included a 33 percent increase to, $1.35 billion, for targeted homeless veteran programs within VA. The House has not yet released its own draft of the FY 2013 funding bill for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).



The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved FY 2013 funding bills for HUD, HHS, and VA, among others. These bills fund a variety of key affordable housing and homeless assistance programs, including:

  • $2.146 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs;
  • $115 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs; and
  • $1.35 billion for VA's targeted homeless veteran programs.  

Although Congress may advance one or two additional bills in July, it is not expected that any bills will receive final passage until after the election.

Congressional Briefings on Homelessness   

The Alliance was involved in a series of congressional briefings in May. On May 10, a congressional briefing was held on homelessness among LGBTQ youth. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and emphasized the need for increased funding, improving data, and ensuring that family intervention is inclusive of the needs of parents with LGBTQ children and youth in order to address LGBTQ youth homelessness.  


On May 17, the Alliance hosted a briefing on the success of rapid re-housing in ending family homelessness. The briefing was sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and highlighted the success of rapid re-housing in helping families transition quickly out of shelter and back into housing, as well as the positive effects of rapid re-housing on outcomes, family well-being, cost savings, and other relevant topics.


On May 23, the Alliance co-hosted a briefing on homelessness among veterans. The briefing explored the strategies being used to meet VA's goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015, including the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and HUD - VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) programs. It was sponsored by Senator Richard Burr, who also provided the opening remarks.


McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign Webinar


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 


Advocacy Tools

All Rights Reserved.