Senator Reid Releases Deficit Reduction Plan Last Thursday, February 14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed a $110 billion plan to avert sequestration, the across-the-board cuts to security and non-security programs scheduled to take effect March 1. The plan proposes revenue increases along with spending cuts in order to reduce the deficit. More specifically, the revenue increases would result from increasing taxes on the wealthy and taxing tar-sand oil. The spending cuts would include $27.5 billion to defense spending over the next eight years and $27.5 billion from eliminating subsidy payments to farmers. Further action on the measure is expected to be taken in the Senate next week. Republicans, who oppose raising taxes, are expected to outline an alternative measure in the near future.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Impact of Sequestration Last Thursday, February 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the impact of sequestration on federal departments and agencies. Numerous officials, including Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), served as witnesses. Secretary Donovan testified that sequestration would be 'deeply destructive' to HUD programs and those who rely on them and would damage the nation's housing market. He explained that about 125,000 individuals and families, more than half of whom are elderly or disabled, would lose assistance provided to them through the Housing Choice Voucher programs, putting them at risk of homelessness. Furthermore, he warned that as a result of sequestration more than 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless people, the majority of whom are families, disabled adults, or veterans, would be removed from housing or shelter programs. He also warned of the devastating impacts of sequestration to public housing agencies, as well as the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, HOME Investment Partnerships, and the Community Development Block Grants programs, among others. A webcast of the hearing is available here.
Obama Delivers 2013 State of the Union Address
Last Tuesday, February 12, President Obama delivered his 2013 State of the Union Address to the nation. In his speech, the President addressed a wide range of issues, including gun violence, immigration, education, tax reform, mortgage refinancing, manufacturing jobs, and climate change. The President also addressed issues important to low-income Americans, such as raising the minimum wage and rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods.
Congress on Recess
The House and Senate both departed for recess last Friday, February 15, and will reconvene next Monday, February 25.
Alliance Comments on Proposed Medicaid Regulations
The Alliance has submitted comments on a set of proposed Medicaid rules implementing the Affordable Care Act that would affect how people who are experiencing homelessness, or have experienced episodes of homelessness in the past, can access health care services. In the comments, the Alliance praises rule changes that will make it easier for people to apply for Medicaid when they lack original documents like birth certificates, but expresses serious concerns about charging fees to homeless persons for each Medicaid service they receive.
The Alliance also urges federal Medicaid officials to craft a final rule that will guarantee better coverage for former foster youth when they move from the state in which they were in foster care.
New Study: Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth
A recent study, The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth, comparing the economic well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth with that of their heterosexual cohorts found that LGB youth are at significant risk of not achieving self-sufficiency. However, the study also found that LGB youth were not necessarily worse off than their peers when it came to economic stability.
Call for Point-in-Time Count Data
The Alliance's Homelessness Research Institute (HRI) is seeking data from the Point-In-Time Counts conducted by communities across the nation last month. If you have 2013 Count data or information available from your community, including any detailed data on specific subpopulations such as youth, families, veterans, and chronically homeless persons, please send it to the Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org. You contribution is invaluable to the Alliance's work to prevent and end homelessness.