Sequestration Will Go into Effect Friday


Advocacy Update | February 27, 2013

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
February 27, 2013
Sequestration Will Go into Effect Friday; Critical Opportunity for Advocates
It does not appear that Congress will reach a compromise that will avert the across-the-board spending cuts to all security and non-security discretionary programs, also known as sequestration, scheduled to go into effect this Friday, March 1.

Sequestration will result in slightly more than five percent cuts to virtually every program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, HOME, CDBG, HOPWA, and Public Housing. The cuts will also apply to other programs that assist those experiencing homelessness such as the Department of Health and Human Services' Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs and the Department of Justice's reentry and domestic violence programs.


Congress is expected to finalize FY 2013 funding prior to March 27, one month from today. Finalizing FY 2013 funding after the sequester takes place may allow Congress to replace funds where truly necessary, helping to alleviate the pain of these deep cuts. As homeless advocates, it is our responsibility to take full advantage of this opportunity to ensure that programs serving the most vulnerable members of our society are not forgotten in the larger budget battles, but rather emerge as winners at the end of the month. 


Here's What You Can Do:

  1. Call your senators' and representatives' offices THIS WEEK and next. Ask to speak to the person who handles the Members' housing issues. You can find their number by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. 
  2. Ask them to urge congressional leaders to provide funding increases for homeless assistance and affordable housing programs in the final FY 2013 funding legislation. Use the various talking points found here to help you.
  3. Spread the word! Please forward this alert to partners and other interested parties. 
  4. Let us know who you contacted and what they said!   
Further Information on Sequestration
HUD estimates that sequestration will result in 125,000 individuals and families losing assistance provided to them through the Housing Choice Voucher programs and 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless people being removed from housing or shelter programs.


Some programs will feel the effects of sequestration much sooner than others. For instance, programs that are not funded through yearly grants, such as Public Housing and Section 8, are likely to see reduced operating costs in the next few weeks, while programs that are funded via grants, including McKinney-Vento and RHYA, will not see the cuts until their next Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). For McKinney-Vento grantees, the FY 2013 NOFA is expected to be released later in 2013, which will include the five percent cuts to the CoC and ESG programs unless legislation is passed beforehand that replaces sequestration or provides funding to make up for its cuts.  


It is important to note that programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs, including VA homeless assistance programs, will be exempt from the cuts. Mainstream poverty programs that are funded through mandatory (as opposed to discretionary) spending, such as SSI/SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare, TANF, and SNAP, will also be exempt.  


If you have never taken an advocacy action before, there has never been a more critical time do so.  

Funding for programs that prevent and end homelessness in our communities is very much AT RISK, and failing to adequately fund them will have devastating effects on those members of our society who are already facing the direst circumstances. We MUST make sure that Congress understands the importance of these effective programs to local communities across the country and the need to fully fund them in this challenging time. Let Congress know NOW that cuts to programs targeted toward the most vulnerable members of our society are unacceptable.
Sequestration "Frequently Asked Questions"

State-by-State Cuts
Secretary Donovan's Senate Testimony
The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.

Kate Seif
Policy Outreach Coordinator 


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