National Call-In Week: Congressional Talking Points

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Advocacy Resource | September 4, 2013

Files: National Call-In Week: Congressional Talking Points (PDF | 303 KB | 1 page)

Talking Points:

• Don’t balance the budget on the backs of America’s poorest people. The majority of HUD programs are targeted toward the nation’s lowest-income people; including Section 8, Public Housing, HOME, and the Homeless Assistance Grants. Cuts to these programs mean that policymakers are balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable people. Underfunding HUD programs is hurting the country, and particularly hurting low-income Americans, including low-wage workers, people with disabilities, and older Americans.

• Fund HUD at Senate levels. As Congress resumes work to finalize FY 2014 funding, it is essential that congressional leadership ensures that any final agreement provides funding that can at least achieve the standard set by the Senate’s HUD appropriations bill, S. 1243. Numerous senators from both parties expressed support for the rollback of sequestration represented in the legislation. The HUD funding levels provided in the legislation would represent a huge step forward for many programs after numerous years of setbacks and underfunding.

• Need. The Budget Control Act of 2011 placed an immense burden on federal housing and homeless assistance programs through a series of deep cuts. These cuts, coupled with sequestration cuts and many difficult economic factors, will almost inevitably lead to an increased need for homeless assistance programs. Many programs have already had to make extremely difficult decisions and will only continue to face turning people away if sufficient funding isn’t provided. The multi-year decline in HUD funding has greatly impeded our nation’s ability to provide safe and affordable housing to our nation’s neediest people and we must now work to ensure that each person has a suitable living environment.
o Discuss the need in your community for increased federal homelessness resources due to the lingering effects of the recession and budget cuts. Describe the impact that sequestration is having on homeless assistance programs in your community. Explain that increases in funding will be needed to counterbalance these devastating cuts.
o Describe your community’s experience with indicators of homelessness (such as the number of people living doubled up). Explain that high numbers of people with risk factors may quickly lead to increased homelessness.
o Explain the need to reverse deep cuts caused by sequestration.

• Bipartisan Support. We must continue efforts made over the last decade by congresses and administrations from both parties to make preventing and ending homelessness a top priority.
o Discuss the local bipartisan commitment to ending homelessness.

• These Programs Work. HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs have a long history of strong, bipartisan support because they are repeatedly proven effective at preventing and ending homelessness for families, veterans, and individuals. Work to end homelessness is based on an interagency plan, and the models are outcome-oriented and cost-effective. Explain the success of a local McKinney-funded program. Share program outcomes and its impact in your community.
o Permanent Supportive Housing. Discuss the role of McKinney-funded permanent supportive housing (PSH) in reducing chronic homelessness in your community. Explain the cost-effectiveness of PSH.
o Rapid Re-Housing and Prevention. The HEARTH Act builds on communities’ experience through HPRP with the low-cost, efficient models of rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention by funding these models through the ESG. Describe your community’s experience with the ESG, including how it has helped to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your homeless assistance system in reducing homelessness.

• I hope you will work with your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to provide at least $2.26 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and as much funding for HUD programs as possible in the final FY 2014 appropriations bill.