Policy Priorities

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

Federal Policy Priorities
May 2017

The Alliance works with policymakers to advocate for increased funding for homeless assistance programs to cover housing and supportive 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. HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program is the federal government's largest homeless assistance program. McKinney-Vento funds two programs: the competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) formula grant program. Modest congressional investments in McKinney-Vento coupled with congressional support for HUD’s work to strategically allocate these resources for maximum impact has resulted in decreases in the number of people experiencing homelessness. Congress must continue to invest in this effective program to continue progress and avoid reversing the trend. 

We are urging Congress to provide $2.6 billion in FY 2018 for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program. Congress should also prevent the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) from sunsetting and continue to fund it at least at its current $3.6 million funding level. 

Health Care Reform

As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of people eligible for Medicaid increased. This increase is known as the Medicaid expansion, and as a result, 11 million people have gained coverage in 32 expansion states including the District of Columbia.

Maintaining the Medicaid expansion will be critical in any health care reform legislation. If the expansion is retracted,  the most vulnerable people, including many people experiencing homelessness, will lose their healthcare coverage.

Funding to End Veteran Homelessness

Two states and many communities have effectively ended veteran homelessness.  This would not have happened without bipartisan congressional support and robust federal funding for VA, HUD, and other programs serving homeless veterans. Congress must continue to invest in proven solutions to end veteran homelessness. 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 $400 million for the Veterans Administration’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and $257 million for the VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program in FY 2018 appropriations.
  • Reauthorize the Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and provide $100 million in FY 2018 appropriations for this program.

Affordable Housing

Close to 8.19 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. We also ask that Congress provide $21.2 billion for Tenant-Based “Section 8” Rental Assistance in FY 2018.

Spotlight

Library Resources

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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.