Advocacy Update: Urge Congress to Fix Rental Assistance Regulation!

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Advocacy Update | August 14, 2013

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
August 14, 2013

Urge Congress to Fix Rental Assistance Regulation!      

The Continuum of Care (CoC) regulations released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last year included language stating that only government entities (including Public Housing Authorities) would be allowed to administer rental assistance, excluding nonprofits from participating in rental assistance activities. This presents a significant challenge to Continuums across the country and adds administrative burden to many entities trying to quickly re-house individuals and families experiencing homelessness.  

 

Fortunately, many of you engaged your Members of Congress on this issue in the past few months, and they have begun taking action! The Senate's fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding bill for the Departments of Transportation and HUD includes simple language that would allow nonprofits to administer rental assistance. Should the legislation pass into law, it would essentially fix the problem.  

 

However, since the federal funding process may take a significant amount of time to finalize and individuals bills may not pass, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), has introduced legislation with similar language to ensure that nonprofits may administer rental assistance. The legislation, H.R. 2790 - the Housing Assistance Efficiency Act, would allow nonprofits [501(c)3s] to administer rental assistance. Right now, the legislation has been introduced to the House Financial Services Committee (the House Committee with oversight over HUD programs), and needs sufficient bipartisan support to be considered in and passed out of the Committee.  

 

If you are concerned about nonprofits in your Continuum no longer being able to administer rental assistance, this is your chance to address that! We need to ensure H.R. 2790 has as many cosponsors as possible!  

 

Here's What You Can Do:  

 

1. Call your Members in the House of Representatives this August.  

a. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues in the office. You can find the office's number by calling the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121.  

2.   Urge them to cosponsor Rep. Peters' legislation, HR 2790!  

a. Explain the importance of nonprofits administering rental assistance in your community and the deleterious impacts this regulation has on your efforts to prevent and end homelessness.  

3. Have the office contact Lumay Wang (lumay.wang@mail.house.gov ) to cosponsor HR 2790!

4. Let us know who you called and what they said! Email Kate Seif (cseif@naeh.org) to report back!  

 

Please feel free to check out the Alliance's blog on this issue here for further information. We will make sure to keep advocates apprised of any changes and updates to this legislation. This recess is a great opportunity to educate your Representatives and urge them to cosponsor HR 2790! 

 

Take Our State Issues Survey!

What policies in your state are most important to the goals of ending homelessness? August is a time when state sessions appear on the horizon, even as homeless advocates engage Members of Congress while they are in recess at home. Opportunities to participate in state-level advocacy vary from year to year, and from state to state. As you settle on your state priorities for 2014, we want to know what's on your mind and what you're hearing. Take the Alliance's 2014 State Issues survey, and let us know. Last year, survey results were very valuable. We used them to develop information and tools to support advocates and educate the public on state policies to move forward with plans to end homelessness. Check it out! Our questions might even spark a strategy conversation in your network, just as your answers last year sparked a new workshop on state advocacy at our national conference last month. Responses are due on August 30.  

 
Host a Site Visit This Recess!
The House and Senate are both on recess until Monday, September 9. This extended work period where senators and representatives are back in their states and districts is an ideal time to host your Member for a site visit!

Site visits have been rated as one of the most impactful advocacy actions. They offer homeless assistance organizations the opportunity to show their elected officials how the federal programs on which they vote operate on the ground and the good work they are doing preventing and ending homelessness in their communities.

If you are interested in working on hosting your Member for a site visit of your program, or otherwise meeting with them while they are in the district, please let us know! Email or call Kate Seif (cseif@naeh.org / 202.942.8256) to strategize! You can also check our Advocacy Toolkit on site visits for more information!  
TOOLKIT
 
Rental Assistance Blog

State Issues Survey

Achieving Effective Site Visits
 
 
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POLITICAL WILL
The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.
CONTACT US

Kate Seif 
Policy Outreach Coordinator 
 
 
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