|Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 2112, which would fund, among other agencies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for fiscal year (FY) 2012. The House and Senate are expected to begin meeting right away - as soon as tomorrow - to work out the differences between the two chambers' versions of the FY 2012 HUD funding bill.
This process of working out a final, compromise version of the legislation - known as the conference process - is the final step before each chamber passes the legislation and sends it to the President to sign into law.
So, the time to act is NOW! The conference process will likely be our LAST chance to impact the contents of the bill, and we need to ensure that it includes the highest possible overall level of funding for HUD programs, so that key programs like HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants can receive increased funding.
What You Can Do:
Congressional office numbers can be found by calling the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Contact the person who handles housing issues for your representatives and senators RIGHT AWAY.
- Explain the importance of affordable housing resources for your community and the need for additional resources for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs to address the growing number of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and to implement the HEARTH Act. Use these talking points as a guide.
- Ask that your Member of Congress contact the leaders of the Appropriations Committee RIGHT AWAY to express his/her support for providing as much overall funding for HUD as possible and for INCREASING funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs.
- Let us know which office(s) you contacted by emailing Amanda Krusemark Benton at email@example.com.
If your Member of Congress sits on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, it is particularly important to contact his/her office.
The Senate combined several bills providing FY 2012 funding for programs within the Departments of Transportation, HUD, Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice, and other key agencies into one bill, H.R. 2112. The bill would not provide the much-needed increase for HUD's McKinney-Vento programs.
The Senate passed the legislation yesterday, and it now heads to a conference between the House and Senate, where negotiators will work out a single, compromise version of the legislation. Congressional leaders believe this process will move quickly.
The government is currently operating under a stopgap funding measure that expires on November 18. Congress is not expected to be able to finalize all of its FY 2012 appropriations work by that date and will likely pass another stopgap funding measure into December. However, congressional leaders have expressed hope that they may be able to complete work on the FY 2012 HUD funding bill, H.R. 2112, before November 18. If this were to happen, the new stopgap measure would only apply to departments whose appropriations have not yet been finalized.
The effort to increase HUD and McKinney funding is gaining momentum. For example. in the last week, the New York Times has published editorials about the need for more federal funding for HUD affordable housing and homelessness programs.
With the timeline likely to be so short and the growing attention to your efforts by Congress and the media, it's imperative that we act NOW to affect the outcome and capitalize on the growing momentum. Local, state, and federal cuts to affordable housing programs will further swell the number of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness - making it all the more necessary to provide additional resources to homeless assistance programs.