Advocacy Update: Quarterly Report


Advocacy Update | July 2, 2014






National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
July 2, 2014

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 Update;
  • Veterans Funding Update;        
  • Policy Update Webinar;  
  • Capitol Hill Day 2014;  and
  • Opening Doors Comment Period.  
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Funding Update

Congress is continuing its work on fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. To recap activity to date, the Administration has proposed a funding level of $2.406 billion for McKinney in FY 2015, a fantastic $300 million increase over the FY 2014 funding level. This funding level would get us a long way toward ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016 by providing dedicated funding for new permanent supportive housing projects.


The full House, which voted on HUD funding legislation in early June, proposed to flat fund the program for FY 2015, providing only $2.105 billion for McKinney. This funding level would not be enough to fund all Continuum of Care renewals and would result in cuts to programs and difficult tiering and prioritization decisions to be made when communities complete the NOFA. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to provide a $40 million increase to the program. By Alliance estimates, this would possibly be enough to cover all renewals, but would provide NO funding for new projects.


Both the House and Senate's proposed funding levels are unacceptably low, and as such, the Alliance is committed to urging Members of Congress to provide the funding level proposed by the Administration. We know that securing the Administration's proposed $2.406 billion will be an uphill battle; however, when the funding process moves forward again we believe the Administration will place a renewed emphasis on securing the highest funding possible to ensure that we are able to serve as many people experiencing homelessness as possible. The Administration recently released its FY 2015 funding priorities, and McKinney is listed as one of the top programs on which they will focus. 


In addition to hearing about the importance of this program from the Administration, Members of Congress need to hear from YOU! These next few months will require a steady stream of advocacy to ensure we will not have to cut our programs. For the first time in many years, we may even have the opportunity to expand! We can no longer allow Congress to use the excuse of a difficult funding environment - we must work to move these programs forward and reach our goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016!


Veterans Homeless Assistance Programs Funding Update   

Congress has made similar progress with funding for the homeless assistance programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In its Budget Proposal released in February, the Administration proposed funding the VA homeless assistance programs at $1.6 billion - a $200 million increase over the FY 2015 funding level, with the additional funds targeted toward an increase in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. This increase would help us reach our goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.


Unfortunately, the full House voted in late April to flat fund the programs at $1.4 billion, providing NO additional funding to address homelessness among veterans. Fortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in late May to provide $1.64 billion for VA homeless assistance programs - $41 million more than the amount requested by the Administration! The Senate's funding level would include the proposed $200 million increase for SSVF and additional funding for the Grant and Per Diem program and HUD-VASH case management.


The funding levels included in the version that passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee would help us achieve our goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. It is imperative that we work with our Representatives in the House to ensure that this additional funding is secured when Congress works to finalize the appropriations process. Good things are happening across the country as part of our efforts to end veteran homelessness, and we need to make sure our Members are aware of this! Take this opportunity to thank your Senators for providing the additional funding, and to work with your Representatives to secure it!


Policy and Advocacy Update Webinar  
In preparation for the 2014 Capitol Hill Day, in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, the Alliance's policy team is hosting a webinar on the policy priorities driving the Capitol Hill Day agenda. Staff will review these policy priorities and provide the latest legislative and political updates to ensure that Capitol Hill Day participants and other interested advocates have the newest information prior to their Hill visits. While targeted toward State Captains and those participating in Capitol Hill Day, this webinar will offer an opportunity for anyone who is interested to learn more about where things stand in the federal budget process for key homelessness and affordable housing programs. Join us on July 22 at 2:00 pm ET for the webinar. To register for the webinar, click here.  


Capitol Hill Day 2014

As the National Conference on Ending Homelessness approaches, the Alliance is preparing attendees from around the country for Capitol Hill Day, taking place on July 31. Capitol Hill Day is a day-long advocacy effort during which participants meet with their respective Members of Conference to discuss the state of homelessness in their state or district and urge them to take specific action with regards to homelessness programs.  


Capitol Hill Day is an excellent opportunity to interact with your Representatives and Senators, participate in the political process, and make your voice heard! Last year's Capitol Hill Day saw over 400 advocates attend 300 meetings which resulted in more funding for homeless programs. Members of Congress work for the interests of their constituents and, therefore, have personal and professional stake in your concerns. The Alliance expects this year's Capitol Hill Day to be one of the most effective yet and hopes that anyone who is passionate about ending homelessness in America will join us in our effort.


For more information about Capitol Hill Day 2014, please contact Grant Sims at .  
Opening Doors Open Feedback Period
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness is revising and updating Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness and they want to hear from YOU! They are looking for feedback from communities across the country about what we have learned in our efforts to address homelessness. Communities have until August 8, 2014 to leave their comments here
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 
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