Advocacy Update: Quarterly Report - Letter Writing Campaign Underway!


Advocacy Update | June 24, 2013

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
June 24, 2013

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:

  • McKinney-Vento Funding Letter Writing Campaign;      
  • Capitol Hill Day 2013;  
  • FY 2014 Appropriations Update; and 
  • HEARTH Act Technical Fix.  
McKinney-Vento Letter Writing Campaign to Secure Increased Resources
On June 18, the Alliance launched a McKinney-Vento Letter Writing Campaign in order to secure increased funding in the final fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding bills. The campaign has a goal of sending 500 letters by June 30 to as many Members of Congress as possible, and particularly those that sit on the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate.
Negotiations around federal funding for key homeless assistance and low-income housing programs are well under way in both chambers. The time is NOW to make the biggest impact possible on the funding level for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.   


Here's What You Can Do:

1. Send letters to ALL of your Members of Congress RIGHT AWAY!  

Direct them to the attention of the person who handles housing issues (we can help you find out who that is). You can call the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121 to be connected to your Members' offices.  


2.Ask others to send letters, too! 
Email colleagues this sample letter and ask them to send letters, too. Forward this email or this sample action alert to your email networks and ask them to send letters to their Members of Congress. 
3. Let us know how many letters you send!

Email Kate Seif at or Julie Klein at This is especially important so we can keep track of our progress toward our goal of sending 500 letters!    


More Information  

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD funding released their FY 2014 funding bill, which includes funding proposals for all programs within HUD, on Wednesday, June 19. The legislation included $2.088 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. This would result in a nearly $160 million increase over the final, sequestered FY 2013 funding level!  


Unfortunately, due to increased renewal demand, this funding level would only cover FY 2013 renewals (it would not be enough to return communities to their FY 2012 funding level). The bill would also provide at least $200 million for Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) activities.  


The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD funding is releasing and voting on their version of the legislation tomorrow. The full House Appropriations Committee will vote on the HUD funding legislation on Wednesday, followed by the full Senate Committee on Thursday.


It's an action-packed week for HUD funding decisions, making it a prime time to act! Please take a moment to reach out to your Members of Congress and tell them that providing $2.381 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in FY 2014 MUST be a priority! We're well on our way to sending 500 letters, but we need your help! 500 letters in just two weeks would send a tremendous message to Congress: provide increased funding for these programs! Don't forget to let us know how many letters you send!  

Capitol Hill Day 2013
On Wednesday, July 24, the Alliance will host Capitol Hill Day 2013 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, over 360 people from 44 states attended about 290 congressional meetings. For Capitol Hill Day 2013, participants from about 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 on which Congress is currently working and on which we can have an impact. On Tuesday, July 16 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 2013, please contact Jenny Lewis at
Congress Makes Progress on FY 2014 Appropriations

As noted previously, in the next few days both the House and Senate will make a great deal of progress on their respective FY 2014 appropriations legislation.



On June 19, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD funding passed the FY 2014 funding bill for HUD, which included $2.088 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs. For a full list of key programs included in the House's HUD funding bill, please click here.  


In early June, the House approved FY 2014 legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which included a slight increase to $1.4 billion, for targeted homeless veteran programs within VA. The House has not yet released a draft of the FY 2014 funding bill for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).



The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD funding is scheduled to release and vote on its FY 2014 funding bill tomorrow, June 25. The full Committee will take up and vote on the measure on Thursday, June 27.  


The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA funding approved a measure that would similarly provide $1.4 billion for homeless veteran programs within VA. The Senate has not yet released or scheduled the release of the FY 2014 funding bill for programs within HHS.  


Although both the full House and Senate may advance additional bills in the remainder of June and through July, it is not expected that any legislation will be passed into law this summer.  

HEARTH Act Rental Assistance Technical Fix  

The Alliance is currently working with staff in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to pass a small technical fix to the HEARTH Act of 2009, which reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program. The Continuum of Care regulations that were released last year included language that stated that only government entities (including Public Housing Authorities) are able to administer rental assistance. This language excludes nonprofits from administering rental assistance, which many communities felt would be a major impediment to their efforts to prevent and end homelessness.  


Efforts are underway to amend the current language to include nonprofits [501(c)3s] as entities eligible to administer rental assistance with HUD Continuum of Care funds.  


If you have any questions about this minor technical fix, or would like to get involved in advocacy efforts around this fix, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Kate Seif at or 202.942.8256 for further information.  

McKinney-Vento Letter Writing Campaign

Policy Update Webinar
The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.

Kate Seif 
Policy Outreach Coordinator 
All Rights Reserved.