Advocacy Update: Quarterly Report

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Advocacy Update | October 1, 2012

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
October 1, 2012

Quarterly Report: Announcements and Recap 

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

  • McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign;  
  • Upcoming advocacy efforts around sequestration;  
  • Update on comment period for the interim CoC Rule;  
  • Webinar and materials on Youth-Inclusive Point-in-Time Counts; and 
  • Capitol Hill Day 2012 Recap.
McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign Continues through October Recess
 

In August, the Alliance launched a McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign to encourage advocates to invite their Members of Congress on a site visit of a McKinney-funded program while their Members are at home in their districts.  

 

Members are home in their district through the November 6 elections. This gives advocates a fantastic opportunity to continue planning and executing their site visits. With sequestration on the horizon and other broader budget issues at stake, now is the time to impart the importance of McKinney programs in your community.     

 

The extended congressional recess is a fantastic opportunity to connect with your senators and representatives and show them the vital role these programs play as well as the need for $2.231 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013 for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants to meet the goal of preventing and ending homelessness.  

We have numerous resources on our McKinney Site Visit webpage to assist you, including sample materials and further information on McKinney-Vento funding. If you are currently working on hosting your Member on a site visit, please let Kate Seif know! Similarly, if you are interested in hosting your Member, and want help getting started, email Kate for help strategizing and next steps.
Advocate against Cuts to HUD Fundingsequestration
Sequestration, also known as the automatic, across-the-board funding cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, is scheduled to go into effect on January 2, 2013. Should Congress fail to make significant changes to sequestration, all programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs, will see an 8.2 percent cut to funding. According to estimates by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, those cuts would result in the following approximated service cuts:
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants will receive a $156 million cut, resulting in approximately 145,000 people who are homeless rather than housed;
  • The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program (Tenant-Based Rental Assistance) will receive a $1.53 billion cut, resulting in approximately 186,000 people losing their rental assistance;
    • HUD's one exception: vouchers from the joint HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program for homeless veterans are exempt from sequestration
  • The Project-Based Rental Assistance program will receive a $772 million cut, resulting in approximately 90,000 households losing housing within several years; and   
  • The HOME program will receive an $82 billion cut, resulting in approximately 4,500 households that would not receive new or rehabilitated rental and ownership housing.   

 

Beyond these numbers, sequestration would have an immeasurable negative impact on our nation's efforts to prevent and end homelessness for children, families, individuals, veterans, and youth. As Congress discusses alternatives to the sequester during their recess and following the election, they must hear from us about protecting HUD funding.  

 

Here's what you can do:

  • Let your Members of Congress know you want affordable housing and homelessness programs protected from these cuts. Use these talking points to assist you.  
  • Take advantage of the current congressional recess to:
    1. Invite your Member on a site visit;
    2. Meet with your Member while he/she is at home in the district;  
    3. Call your Members' Washington, DC office and let them know sequestration should not happen on the backs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness; and/or  
    4. Place an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor in your local paper letting your Member of Congress know what your community thinks of cuts to HUD programs.    

There are many ways you can get involved - the key thing is to TAKE ACTION. Staff at the Alliance are available to assist you in reaching out to your Members' offices. Please don't hesitate to contact us!      

 

The Alliance and its partners will continue to work on alternatives to sequestration and advocating for the protection of HUD programs. Please stay tuned to our advocacy campaigns and newsletters in the coming weeks for further information and action. You can find more information about the latest on sequestration here.  

Comment Period for Interim CoC Rule Extended

Last Friday, September 28, HUD announced in the Federal Register that they were extending the public comment period for the interim Continuum of Care (CoC) rule to November 16, 2012, an additional six weeks. The comment period was originally set to close yesterday, October 1. The interim rule was originally published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2012 and went into effect on August 30.

 

The Alliance strongly encourages its partners to submit comments on the interim CoC rule. You can use the Alliance's draft comments, found here, to assist you in crafting your own. In addition, we appreciate your continued feedback on our comments and your thoughts on the interim rule. Please contact Kate Seif, Policy Outreach Coordinator at the Alliance, with your suggestions or concerns.

 
Including Youth in PIT Counts 

Collecting accurate data on the extent of homelessness - including youth homelessness - is necessary to ensure sufficient resources are made available to help prevent and end it. Despite these HUD-mandated biannual counts, the number of homeless youth specifically continues to largely elude us. Therefore, we are strongly encouraging communities to include youth under age 24 in their January 2013 point-in-time (PIT) counts and to include youth providers in the planning and implementation process.    

To assist you in this process, the Alliance has created many resources to help communities accurately count as many youth as possible.    

 

In addition to these resources, the Alliance will be co-hosting a webinar on October 4 at 1:30 pm ET entitled "It's a Data-Driven World: Making the Most of the 2013 Youth Homelessness Counts." The webinar will provide communities with best practices for working with local CoC bodies, promising methodologies including counting in rural communities, lessons learned, and guidance on how to incorporate school data into PIT counts. To register for the webinar, please click here  

Capitol Hill Day 2013 Summary and Successes    

 

The Alliance hosted its annual Capitol Hill Day this summer from July 16-18 in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness.  

 

We are pleased to report that this year's Capitol Hill Day was record breaking! Over 360 participants visited congressional offices representing 42 different states. Volunteers serving as State Captains organized an unprecedented 289 congressional meetings. In these meetings, participants discussed a variety of topics, which can be found here.  

 

The full results of these visits will become more visible as federal appropriations becomes finalized. We can be certain, however, that many relationships with congressional offices were begun or strengthened during these visits, which in turn will create better dialogue between congressional offices and their constituents and enhance future education efforts. The full report, including number of meetings, topic discussed, key congressional offices, and more, can be found here.   

 

TOOLKIT
 
McKinney-Vento Site Visit Campaign

 
BUILDING
POLITICAL WILL
The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.
CONTACT US

Kate Seif  
Policy Outreach Coordinator 

 

 
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