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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Newsletters | January 22, 2008

January 22, 2008    

    POLICY  \|  DATA + RESEARCH  \|  TOOL + TRAINING  \|  NEWS + MEDIA Forward Editor: Samantha Batko    
   
 


Spotlight On...
The Alliance's Federal Budget Briefing:Analysis and Policy Implications

The Alliance is hosting its Annual Federal Budget Briefing, "The President's FY 2009 Budget Proposal: Analysis and Policy Implications," on Tuesday, February 5 at 2 pm ET.

Each year, on the first Monday in February, the President releases a budget proposal, which reflects the Administration's funding priorities for the next fiscal year. This jump-starts the annual federal appropriations process and our federal advocacy campaigns. The President's budget is meant to guide Congress as it decides on funding levels for all federal programs.

Presenters will provide an analysis of the President's budget, discuss its impact on housing and homeless programs, and share how participants can partner with us in our federal advocacy initiatives in the coming year. To register for the Budget Briefing, please RSVP by sending an email with your name, organization, city, state, phone number, and email address to advocacy@naeh.org. You will receive a receipt with information on how to join the briefing.

 

 


House Passes HOPE VI Bill
On Thursday, January 17, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act, H.R. 3257, by a bipartisan vote of 271-130. The bill, which was introduced by Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Mel Watt (D-NC), and Stephen Cohen (D-TN), would provide a one-to-one replacement requirement of all units, retroactive to January 1, 2005, though it does allow public housing agencies to seek a small waiver of the one-to-one replacement requirement (up to 10 percent of the units) under certain circumstances. The bill also includes a provision that redevelopment plans should address the needs of "hard-to-house families," which includes elderly families, disabled families, displaced families in need of special services, and households containing a veteran, among other groups.

A hearing was held in June on the Senate's bill to reauthorize the HOPE VI program, S. 829, but no further action has been taken.

Appropriations Highlight: Veterans Supportive Housing

When the FY 2008 appropriations bills were enacted at the end of 2007, there were several new provisions related to housing and homelessness. One was the inclusion of new vouchers for homeless veterans with special needs. The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers are among the first new Section 8 vouchers in several years. There are currently approximately 1,800 HUD-VASH vouchers in use around the country. The appropriation would add 8,000 - 10,000 to that total.

The process for allocating vouchers has not been finalized. Once they are allocated, Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) will have to work with VA medical centers to distribute and use the vouchers. The voucher will provide the rent subsidy, and the VA centers will provide the supportive services. In the past, homeless veterans were eligible if they had any discharge status except dishonorable, and had to have a serious psychiatric or substance abuse disorder; eligibility criteria may, however, be subject to change by HUD and VA.

Federal officials are working to distribute vouchers soon. Because the HUD-VASH program is relatively small, and most VA centers do not currently participate, homelessness providers and advocates are encouraging their local supportive housing providers, VA centers, and PHAs to begin working together to ensure that the program is implemented efficiently and effectively.

Basic Center Program Grants Open

Through the Basic Center Program, Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) works to establish or strengthen community-based programs that address the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families. The central purpose of these programs is to provide youth with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling, and referrals for health care. Most Basic Centers can provide 15 days of shelter for up to 20 youth. There are exceptions for those jurisdictions that have different standards for licensing. The Basic Centers seek to reunite young people with their families, whenever possible, or to locate appropriate alternative placements.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Administration for Children and Families is accepting applications for its Basic Center Program. The program offers an alternative to runaway and homeless youth by providing appropriate shelter, counseling, and aftercare.

The application deadline is February 19, 2008.
Associated Press wrote an in-depth article on the generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that are coming back to homelessness after returning from military duty. The story focuses on the personal lives of several veterans who have been unable to forget the horrors they saw on the battlefield, the friends they lost, or the often difficult experiences they struggled with while deployed. The story follows these young veterans as they self-medicate, suffer mental health problems, and struggle with PTSD and other stress related illnesses. The article notes that the VA is working to add to their more than 200 veteran adjustment centers and more than 900 VA-connected community clinics nationwide to meet the needs of homeless veterans.

Last week Bill O'Reilly, a Fox News commentator, said that there are "not many" homeless veterans "out there" in response to presidential candidate John Edwards' assertion that, according to the VA and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, approximately 195,000 veterans experience homelessness each night. Many in the media were quick to retort, including MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann who publicly blasted O'Reilly on his MSNBC news show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

 
 
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The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

www.endhomelessness.org


 
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