The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act changes the way that funds from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are proportioned and increases funding for certain activities, particularly homelessness prevention and assistance to families and rural areas.
The Senate Appropriations Committee proposed providing $2.055 billion - a 10 percent increase over FY 2010. The House, however, proposed an 18 percent increase to $2.2 billion. Without a funding level of at least $2.2 billion, communities may receive less funding for new Continuum of Care (CoC) projects or may not be able to implement as many of the HEARTH Act's changes, particularly those that help prevent homelessness and rapidly re-house individuals and families who do become homeless. While $2.4 billion is needed to fully implement the HEARTH Act in FY 2011, a funding level of $2.2 billion will help communities make further progress in implementing this important legislation and in reaching our goal of ending homelessness in the United States.
Talking Points: Discuss the way in which your community currently uses McKinney-Vento funds and what you could do with additional resources. Discuss your community's prevention and rapid re-housing efforts through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP).
The joint HUD - Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program houses the most vulnerable homeless veterans, supplying rent assistance from HUD and medical treatment and case management from VA. It has proven effective at keeping even the most vulnerable veterans housed and off the streets.
Both the House and Senate FY 2011 proposals include $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers. However, if overall spending gets cut, these vouchers may be in danger. We need to preserve the $75 million in any final appropriations bill to help the most vulnerable veterans remain in housing.
Talking Points: Explain how your community uses HUD-VASH vouchers now and how many veterans experience homelessness in your community currently. Discuss the need to fund HUD-VASH in order to meet VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's goal of ending homelessness among veterans in five years.
Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration
Both the House and Senate have proposed funding a new joint initiative between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would couple 6,000 Housing Choice Vouchers for families with resources under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and Department of Education resources, as well as coupling 4,000 Housing Choice Vouchers for chronically homeless individuals with Medicaid, substance abuse, and mental health resources.
Talking Points: Discuss the success your community has had in the past with serving chronically homeless individuals by coupling housing and services to improve outcomes and reduce costs to other systems of care. Explain how TANF resources and Housing Choice Vouchers can help serve vulnerable families in your community.