Advocacy Update: Quarterly Report


Advocacy Update | November 20, 2014

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
November 18, 2014

Quarterly Report: Announcements and Recap

This Quarterly Report includes an overview of current activities for advocates, as well as a review of major developments from the last quarter. Specifically, this issue reviews:

  • McKinney-Vento Update and Letter Writing Campaign;
  • Quarter three advocacy results; and
  • 2014 Capitol Hill Day Review

McKinney-Vento Letter Writing Campaign Underway to Secure Increased Resources for Homeless Assistance!

The 113th Congress is currently working to finalize fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding during this "lame duck" session. To recap activity to date, the Administration has proposed a funding level of $2.406 billion for McKinney in FY 2015, a $301 million increase over the FY 2014 funding level. This funding level would provide funding for 37,000 units of permanent supportive housing to house people experiencing chronic homelessness, which would move us toward ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Not only will meeting this goal in time result in housing thousands of vulnerable Americans with disabilities, but it will also mean that Congress is still on board with the time frame in Opening Doors, with an end to family and youth homelessness next up.
These upcoming weeks will likely be our last chance to advocate for increased funding to McKinney in FY 2015, and as such, we are holding a Letter Writing Campaign. In order to ensure that a $301 million increase for homeless assistance is a top priority when FY 2015 funding levels are finalized, Members of Congress need to hear from YOU!

Here's What You Can Do:


Help us send at least 300 letters to Members of Congress!


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

a. Direct them to the attention of the person who handles housing issues. (You can find out who this person is by calling your Senators' and Representatives' offices. Or, we can help you find the right contact information).


2. Ask others to send letters, too!  

a. Email colleagues these sample letters and ask them to send letters, too.       

b. Forward this Quarterly Advocacy Update or this sample action alert to your email networks and ask them to send letters to their Members of Congress. 

c. You can also share on social media that you wrote to your members of Congress and encourage others to do so using #FundMcKinney and #WriteLetterstoCongress! and linking to our Letter Writing Campaign website or this Quarterly Advocacy Update.


3. Let us know how many letters you send! 

a. Email Julie Klein or Jaime Colman. This is especially important so we can keep track of our progress toward our goal! 


More Information on FY 2015 Funding


The Administration's proposed $301 million increase to McKinney is sorely needed. Sequestration cuts put a tremendous strain on our homeless assistance systems, and expiring multi-year grants further reduce capacity. The House version of the bill, which flat-funded McKinney at $2.105 billion, would result in cuts to Continuums of Care, and if enacted, communities will once again be faced with the difficult tiering and prioritization decisions they made for the FY 2013 NOFA. The Senate version of the bill, which provided a small $40 million increase to $2.145 billion, would likely be enough to cover renewals from FY 2014, but it is very unlikely that it would provide funding to expand ESG programs and it would not provide any additional funding for new projects.


Furthermore, it is likely that the HUD budget will be particularly strained in upcoming fiscal years. It is critical that we send a clear message to Congress that they need to follow through with this increase in FY 2015. Please customize and send letters to your Members of Congress TODAY!


Recent Advocacy Efforts: Call-In Week and Local Fall Engagement Campaign


This fall has provided many advocacy opportunities and the Alliance is very appreciative of all of the efforts and advocacy actions that have been taken! Two major advocacy efforts, which revolve around our FY 2015 McKinney Campaign, have included our National Call-In Week and our Fall Local Member Engagement Campaign.


During our National Call-In Week, which kicked off on September 8, advocates called Congressional offices and urged Members of Congress to contact the Chair or Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee in the relevant chamber with the message that providing $2.406 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program in FY 2015 is a high priority. Our National Call-In Week generated over 180 calls.


Our Fall Local Member Engagement Campaign gave constituents the opportunity to engage Members of Congress while they were home in their districts and states during the election season. Members were engaged through site visits and in-district congressional meetings. These efforts raised awareness about the issue of and solutions to homelessness, educated Members on the needed increase for McKinney in FY 2015, and asked them to commit to communicate this message to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.


2014 Capitol Hill Day Review


The Alliance hosted its Capitol Hill Day 2014 this summer on July 31 in Washington, DC in conjunction with the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. Capitol Hill Day brought together service providers and local, state, and national officials and stakeholders to educate congressional offices about issues related to preventing and ending homelessness.


Capitol Hill Day 2014 was successful yet again, with a large contingent of conference participants from numerous states visiting a number of congressional offices. This year, over 235 participants visited congressional offices representing 33 different states. Over 200 congressional meetings were organized by volunteers serving as State Captains. Participants met with an impressive number of the Members of Congress who sit on key committees such as the House and Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee.


During these visits, key priorities were addressed, such as funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, targeted programs for homeless veterans within VA, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, and the National Housing Trust Fund.

The full results of these 2014 Capitol Hill Day visits will become more visible in the upcoming weeks as Congress looks to finalize FY 2015 federal funding. We can be certain, though, that the issue of homelessness was elevated in these congressional offices and many relationships with these offices were begun or strengthened during these visits. These bonds will create better dialogue between congressional offices and their constituents and enhance future education efforts which will serve to benefit homeless assistance programs in the future.


Further details on the success and results of Capitol Hill Day 2014 are available in the full report.


FY 2015 McKinney Campaign


McKinney Letter Writing Campaign


2014 Capitol Hill Day Report

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

Jaime Colman
Policy Outreach Associate


Julie Klein

Policy Outreach Associate

FY 2015 McKinney Campaign
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