Last Friday, February 8, White House officials held a briefing to warn the public about the devastating impacts sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board cuts to security and non-security programs, would have on government programs if it takes effect as planned on March 1. They included in their warnings that sequestration would result in the removal of an estimated 100,000 formerly homeless people from housing and emergency shelter programs due to cuts to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and would put 125,000 low-income renters at risk of losing their Housing Choice Vouchers.
Following the White House's statements, Members of Congress from both parties spoke out publically about their stances on the sequester. Republicans asserted that they would not consider further tax increases as part of any alternative stopgap measure, while Democrats promised that entitlement and safety net programs would be guarded from the sequester.
House Budget Committee to Hold Hearing on Budget and Economic Outlook
This Wednesday, February 13, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the budget and economic outlook prepared by the Congressional Budget Office. Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, will serve as the only witness.
Senate Appropriations Committee to Hold Hearing on Impact of Sequestration
This Thursday, February 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of sequestration on federal departments and agencies. Federal department and agency officials, including Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will serve as witnesses.
Reauthorization of the 1998 Workforce Investment Act Anticipated
In the upcoming weeks, Republicans on the Education and Workforce Committee are expected to introduce a bill that would aim to overhaul job-training programs. The bill, similar to a proposal made in the 112th Congress, is expected to consolidate multiple job training programs into one large block grant to the states. Committee Democrats are expected to oppose the bill again, since consolidating programs into a block grant would shift money away from vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness and veterans, that some of the current programs are specifically geared to help.
Senate Passes VAWA
On Tuesday, February 12 the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act passed the Senate in a vote of 78 to 22. This legislation provides protections for all victims of domestic abuse, dating violence, and sexual assault, including tribal, immigrant, and LGBT victims. It also extends transfer protections that currently exist for Section 8 and public housing to additional HUD programs including McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs. There is similar legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 11).
Obama to Give State of the Union Address Tuesday
This Tuesday, February 12, President Obama will deliver his 2013 State of the Union Address. The address is expected to focus on restoring economic prosperity to the middle class and to unveil initiatives in the areas of education, infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing. It is likely that he will address the upcoming battle over the budget by repeating his call for a 'big deal' to reduce the deficit.
House to Reconvene
The House will reconvene this Tuesday, February 12. Both chambers will remain in session for the rest of this week, prior to departing for recess this Friday, reconvening on Monday, February 25.
HUD Announces $98 million in Rental Assistance
On Tuesday, February 12, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced grant awards totaling nearly $98 million to 13 state housing agencies for rental assistance to low-income people with disabilities. The state agencies will receive the funding under the under the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo), which is designed to identify and support state approaches for transforming the provision of housing and support services for persons with disabilities.
As a key part of the demonstration, the selected state housing agencies are working collaboratively with their state Medicaid agencies to ensure coordination and access to Medicaid services and supports that enable low-income people with disabilities to live independently. The tenant-based assistance will support more than 3,000 units of housing for people with disabilities, many of whom would otherwise be at-risk of homelessness.
Conference Reminder: Attendance at Capacity, Reception, Cancellation Deadlines
Due to overwhelming response, the Alliance has closed registration for the 2013 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness early and created a waitlist for those who are still interested in attending but were unable to register in time. We have added more than 100 people to the list and have been working to accommodate as many as possible. Unfortunately, we will be unable to accommodate everyone on the list.
If you have not received confirmation that you are registered for the conference, please do not make plans to attend. Event attendance has reached capacity and we will be unable to offer onsite registration. As always, materials from the conference will be posted on the Alliance's website as soon as possible after the event.
The deadline for registering for the special reception, which will be hosted by the premiere sponsor of the conference, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is Thursday, February 14. If you haven't registered for the reception, please refer to the confirmation email that you received upon registering, which contains registration instructions.
Should you need to cancel your conference registration, please note that the Alliance will charge a $100 cancellation fee for cancellations received up to Friday, February 15. After that deadline no refunds for cancellations will be granted.
All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing to Jennifer Olney, development and administrative associate. Make sure to submit your conference cancellations in writing before these deadlines to save money.