Congress returned to Washington, DC today, and the Senate is expected to begin to craft a counter-proposal to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 funding bill passed by the House on February 19.
We need to be SURE our Senators understand the importance of key federal programs for preventing and ending homelessness and that FY 2011 appropriations legislation should include:
- $2.2 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants programs;
- 10,000 new HUD - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers; and
- 10,000 vouchers for the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration.
While the Senate works on its proposal, two sign-on letters are circulating in the House. Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Al Green (D-TX) are circulating a House sign-on letter to their colleagues with a tentative deadline of March 2, asking them to support a funding level of $2.2 billion for McKinney-Vento programs and inclusion of 10,000 Demonstration vouchers in the final, compromise FY 2011 bill.
In addition, Representatives Green and Susan Davis (D-CA)
are circulating another House sign-on letter until at least noon ET tomorrow, March 1, asking their colleagues to support the inclusion of 10,000 additional HUD-VASH vouchers in the final FY 2011 bill.
What You Can Do:
You can find congressional office phone numbers by calling the congressional office switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Contact the housing staffers in your Senators' DC offices TODAY or TOMORROW, if you haven't already. Explain how important these programs are to your community's efforts to end homelessness. Use these sample materials as a guide.
- Ask your networks, partners, and colleagues to also contact their Senate offices immediately.
- Call your Representatives' DC offices. Ask them to sign onto the Moore/Green letter and the Davis/Green letter. They can do so by...
- Moore/Green McKinney letter - contacting Andrew Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org in Rep. Moore's office.
- Davis/Green VASH letter - contacting Lee Steuer at email@example.com in Rep. Davis' office, or Susie Saavedra at Susie.firstname.lastname@example.org in Rep. Green's office.
- Report any responses to Amanda Krusemark at email@example.com or to Kate Seif at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, Congress is expected to pass a short-term, stopgap measure to keep the government running until March 18 while Members of Congress reach an agreement on the final FY 2011 appropriations package. FY 2011 began on October 1, and the government is currently operating under a stopgap measure that expires on Friday, March 4.
The House's FY 2011 funding bill includes only $1.865 billion for McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants, and no new HUD-VASH vouchers, and no funding for the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration. These funding levels could lead to over 160,000 additional people homeless who would otherwise be housed.
The Senate is expected to create a counter-proposal for FY 2011 funding legislation in response to the House's bill. The Senate may release such a proposal as soon as this week, though it is still unclear if or when the Senate might hold a vote on its own bill.