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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Newsletters | December 12, 2006

December 12, 2006    

    POLICY  \|  DATA + RESEARCH  \|  TOOL + TRAINING  \|  NEWS + MEDIA Forward Editor: Samantha Batko    
   
 
Spotlight On...
National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness

Conference Brochure. Right Click to Download Picture

For the first time since the rise of homelessness more than 20 years ago, communities can articulate a detailed, practical strategy for ending family homelessness, a strategy that works. On February 8- 9, 2007, the National Alliance to End Homelessness will host the National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness in Oakland, CA. Conference participants will learn about the most effective practices that are showing progress in ending family homelessness.

For detailed information on the conference and to register online, click here.


 

 


On Tuesday, December 12, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released "Out of Reach 2006," their annual publication analyzing housing affordability in cities, metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), and counties. Using the federal affordability standard of no more than 30 percent of a housholds income income going toward rent, this report creates a “housing wage” using the more modest Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defined fair market rent (FMR). This "housing wage" is the hourly minimum wage needed for an individual working forty hours a week to afford a two bedroom apartment. This figure rose from $15.78 last year to a national average wage of $16.31 This report also includes the estimated percentage of renters unable to afford housing at the FMR. Minimum wage workers are unable to afford a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the country, and 88 percent of minimum wage workers are unable to afford even a one bedroom apartment.

In recent years, this analysis has outlined the widening gap between wages and housing cost, highlighting the severe cost burden on low income households. Unaffordable housing creates housing instability in the more vulnerable populations, especially extremely low income individuals – those making less than 30 percent of the area median income. Rising housing costs matched with stagnant wages will increase the likelihood that very low and extremely low income renters will experience homelessness.


Congress Passes a Few Bills and Goes Home

Congress has adjourned for the year. In a last minute flurry, the House and Senate completed a reauthorization of Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs. That legislation, which is expected to be signed by the President shortly, would extend the more than $2 billion program for three years.

Many other bills related to housing and homelessness were not completed. These include
  • Reauthorization of HUD’s McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs;
  • The Second Chance Act, which would provide housing, employment services and other supports for reentering offenders; and
  • The Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, which would have created an affordable housing fund.

The largest piece of unfinished business is the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bills, which fund federal agencies and programs. Congress instead passed a continuing resolution to keep agencies operating until February, giving the new Congress an opportunity to finish the funding bills.

Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorized

On Saturday, December 9, Congress passed H.R. 6143 which reauthorizes the Ryan White CARE Act. The most controversial element of the bill was a redesign of the funding formula. The new formula attempts to redirect funds to rural areas that are experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases but this would result in urban areas receiving less. The approved compromise language does reallocate funds to rural areas but limits the amount urban areas or states with large urban centers can lose. The legislation has provisions that states cannot receive less than 95 percent of the funds they received in 2006. Another key element is that the funds will follow the person regardless of where they live or how the data are reported.

In regards to housing services, the bill includes provisions which require that 75 percent of CARE Act funds be used for “core medical services.” Housing is not a core medical service but can be funded with the remaining 25 percent of funds. This reauthorization will last only three years.

CWLA announces LGBT Youth Best Practice Guidelines

The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) recently released “Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are disproportionately represented among homeless youth populations. Many homeless youth shelters and housing programs strive to offer culturally appropriate services to LBGT youth in care. The field of youth housing and child welfare out-of-home placements, however, have never benefited from a comprehensive outline of standards in approaching and serving this population.

The CWLA “Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care” is the first policy and practice guide to establish best practice recommendations for working effectively with LGBT youth in juvenile settings. Written by experts in the field, this publication includes step-by-step guidelines for providing appropriate care for LGBT adolescents, based on professional standards, the law, and current social science research. The guidelines encourage agencies to review their program components as a whole and incorporate appropriate support for LGBT youth and their families.

Federal Housing Program Training Opportunities

On January 7-12, the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) will take its most intensive training conferences and focus them even more tightly on the federal programs housing finance agencies (HFAs) administer. The Institute’s four program-specific modules will deepen your understanding of both the fundamentals of and advanced techniques for administering the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, Mortgage Revenue Bonds, Federal Housing Administration and rural housing mortgage insurance, and HUD’s Performance-Based Section 8 Contract Administration initiative. The Institute provides an unprecedented chance to network with your peers and receive top-notch education and advice from key federal officials, leading trainers and consultants, and experienced HFA practitioners. Training sessions will cover program basics, legislative and regulatory updates, and the solutions to the latest program administration challenges. The Institute will also feature roundtables open exclusively to HFA staff. Throw in great networking events and it’s a one of a kind opportunity to get high-quality, in-depth learning on these essential HFA programs.

 
 
   ABOUT US
 
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


 
   EXPERT Q & A
 
R.T. Rybak, Right click to download pictures.
Take a five minute break from whatever you are doing to hear about emerging issues, new research, and personal stories from experts and leaders in homelessness and housing policy. This months expert is R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota.


 
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