Alliance Online News: Hill Update


National Alliance to End Homelessness

Newsletters | June 24, 2008

June 24, 2008    

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

House Subcommittee Approves HUD Appropriations Bill
Last Thursday, June 20, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development marked up the Appropriations Bill for the fiscal year (FY) 2009. In total, the bill allocates $108.3 billion for transportation and housing programs, including:


The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill either later this week or shortly after July 4. The Senate Subcommittee is scheduled to consider its version of the bill on July 10.

Press Release
Summary Table

House Approves Supportive Housing Vouchers for Louisiana
On Thursday, June 18, the House passed a bill that would provide $73 million for permanent supportive housing vouchers in Louisiana. The allocation was part of an emergency supplemental bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and pressing domestic needs. The vouchers will be targeted to people with extremely low incomes, the elderly, and people with disabilities who were left homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Since the August 2005 disaster, the homeless population in New Orleans has doubled to an estimated 12,000 people, with many living in abandoned buildings and tent cities. The $73 million will fund 3,000 units of permanent supportive housing. The supplemental measure is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President soon.

Supplemental Measure Includes Moratorium on Medicaid Cuts
The emergency supplemental spending measure that funded permanent supportive housing in Louisiana also put a hold on the Administration's plans to modify Targeted Case Management, the Rehabilitation Option, and other Medicaid provisions. The hold would last until April 2009, and will prevent the Administration from implementing proposals that would have cut services for people with disabilities and reduced provider reimbursements.

House Subcommittee Approves Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Spending
The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved a spending measure on June 19. Most details of the measure will not be known until later this week, but the Subcommittee did approve increases for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Health Centers Programs, which fund Health Care for the Homeless programs.

Press Release

Senate Continues Debate on Housing Bill with National Housing Trust Fund
Last week, the Senate continued working on a massive housing bill that would create a National Housing Trust Fund, provide resources to reduce foreclosures, and reform oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While the Bush Administration has threatened to veto the measure, the bill has broad bipartisan support that could override a veto. Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) proposed an amendment that would have made contributions to the Trust Fund voluntary, dramatically weakening its impact. The amendment was defeated by an overwhelming 77-11 vote. Work will continue on the bill this week. When it passes, the bill will have to be reconciled with a House measure that was passed earlier this year.

House Holds Hearing on Supportive Housing Bill
Last Friday, June 20, the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity held a hearing on H.R. 5772, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008. H.R. 5772, introduced by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), attempts to increase the amount of affordable, supportive housing available to extremely low-income people with disabilities. The bill would enact several improvements to the existing Section 811 program. Witnesses at the hearing included Ms. Ann O'Hara of The Technical Assistance Collaborative and Mr. Ronald S. Cohen, Ph.D., the Chief Executive Officer of United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties. The webcast of the hearing has been archived online.

More Information about the Bill

  • $1.69 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $105 million above last year's level;
  • $75 million to fund 10,000 new housing vouchers for homeless veterans;
  • $30 million for 4,000 new housing vouchers for people with disabilities;
  • $16.57 billion for the Tenant Based Section 8 housing program, a $145 million increase over last year; and
  • $7.3 billion for the Project Based Section 8 program, an increase of nearly $1 billion above last year.


The Center for American Progress (CAP) released "Addressing Foreclosures," a report that outlines solutions to the current housing crisis. David Abromowitz, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of the study, recommends the creation of a Great American Dream Neighborhood Stabilization (GARDNS) Fund. Abromowitz proposes the fund as a $10 billion program that enables local governments and nonprofits-dubbed "local stabilization buyers"- in the areas hardest hit by the crisis to purchase foreclosed homes and then sell them to low- and moderate-income families. Funding would be provided to local stabilization buyers through block grants administered by existing Housing and Urban Development programs. The fund would encourage long-term affordability through monitoring and home buying and ownership counseling. Should homes appreciate in value, the money would be split between local stabilization buyers to make up for any losses during the process and the new homeowners. With these recommendations, Abromowitz foresees the beginning of a solution to the foreclosure crisis through "housing stability, community preservation, and an increase in the stock of housing within reach of average American working families."

Associated Press reported that some California cities are feeling the effects of the foreclosure crisis and the shaky economy and are seeing an increase in the number of people living in their cars, vans, or RVs. The article included an interview with Darlene Knoll, a former home health-care aid who is living in her 1978 RV with five dogs. Every night, she has to look for a place to park where she won't get hassled by cops or residents. In Los Angeles, and in many other cities, it is illegal to live in vehicles parked on public streets and complaints from homeowners are growing. Some cities in California and Oregon have accommodated people who are living out of their vehicles. For example, in Santa Barbara, vehicles are allowed to stay in church and city parking lots from 7 pm to 7 am.

National Conference on Ending Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is hosting the 2008 National Conference on Ending Homelessness on July 28 to 30 in Washington, DC. Before the conference officially starts, the conference will feature several preconference meetings on the morning of Monday, including "Funding Principles for Ending Homelessness," an open discussion hosted by the Leadership of Funder's Together to End Homelessness (formerly the Partnership to End Long Term Homelessness). The "Funding Principles" have been created to help ensure that funders direct their giving to end homelessness using best practices and evidence-based approaches. Conference participants are welcome to attend this meeting and join the discussion and are encouraged to take back ideas and strategies to share with foundations and corporations in their own communities.

This event is co-hosted by Fannie Mae and the William S. Bell Foundation. The event will take place from 10 am to 12 pm at the Hyatt Regency Washington, DC.

Conference registration is available online. Register and reserve your hotel room now! The early registration rate and the group rate for a hotel room ends TODAY, June 24, 2008. The Alliance has also arranged additional hotel room blocks in the Capitol Hill area near the Hyatt Regency where the conference will be held.

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

Employment Opportunities with the Alliance:

Director, Homelessness Research Institute

Capacity Building Associate

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