Policy Priorities

Each year, the Alliance develops a set of core policy priorities to guide our work. These priorities were updated in March 2017.

Federal Policy Priorities
March 2017

The Alliance works with policymakers to advocate for increased funding for homeless programs, housing support in support services, and other legislation that will impact people experiencing homelessness and those that work with them.

Funding for Homelessness Programs

Each year, Congress passes a budget allocating funds to federal programs, including housing and homelessness programs. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program is the largest of these programs. McKinney-Vento funds two programs: the competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) formula grant program.

We are urging Congress to provide $2.487 billion for the Homeless Assistance Grants program within HUD in FY 2017. Congress also should extend the sunset date of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2017 to 2020 while setting its funding level at $3.6 million.

Mental Health Reform

More than 10 percent of people who seek substance abuse or mental health treatment in our public health system are homeless. And people who are in early recovery from these conditions are often at risk of homelessness. People suffering from mental illness or substance use disorders may be left without a steady income, stable housing or social support as a result of their illness.

We are advocating for the inclusion of housing supports in S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, and H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016.

Funding for Homeless Families

The Administration has proposed a Homeless Assistance for Families (HAF) program that would provide $11 billion over 10 years to pay for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and rapid re-housing for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

We are urging members of Congress to work with the relevant authorizing committees (Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in the Senate; Financial Services in the House) to develop and introduce legislation to enact the Administration’s proposal.

Funding to End Veteran Homelessness

Two states and 27 communities have effectively ended veteran homelessness. We know what works. Congress must continue to invest in proven solutions, and communities must collaborate with VA, HUD and others to provide housing and services to homeless veterans in a systematic, targeted way.

We are urging Congress to:

  •     Provide $320 million in FY 2017 appropriations for the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and $257.5 million for the VA’s Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program.
  •     Provide $50 million in FY 2017 appropriations for the Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
  •     Co-sponsor and Support Passage of The Veterans First Act of 2016 (S. 2921).

Affordable Housing

Close to 7.7 million low-income households are experiencing “worst-case housing needs.” Many of these households will experience housing crises and even homelessness. A stronger, more effective affordable housing system can protect the most vulnerable people from becoming homeless.

We are working for an increase in HUD’s ability to serve and house low-income individuals and for ongoing support of the National Housing Trust Fund.


Library Resources

Solutions Brief | January 30, 2017
At the start of the Administration of Donald Trump and the outset of the 115th United States Congress, the number of people who are homeless is 549,928. This is the baseline for measuring the success of efforts to end homelessness in the new Administration and Congress.