These talking points are meant to help advocates explain to their members of Congress the purpose of legislation that will prevent eligibility changes for certain housing assistance programs that serve homeless veterans.
Now that topline federal spending levels have been increased, your voice as a homeless advocate is as important as ever.
Here’s where we’re at in the federal funding process. On Monday, Nov. 2, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law, making $33 billion available for nondefense discretionary programs in fiscal year (FY) 2016. This funding has already been divided among the appropriations subcommittees, but the allocations have yet to be made public. Right now, committee staff are hard at work negotiating competing demands to produce a final bill to set spending levels for federal programs.
Veteran’s Day is a time to honor the service and sacrifice of the many men and women who served in the United States military. The best way we at the Alliance believe we can do that is by ensuring that every single one of these men and women and their families have a warm and safe place to call home.
Five years ago, the White House and the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a challenge to the nation: end veteran homelessness. Since that day, the Obama administration, Congress, as well as local and community partners, and stakeholders like the Alliance have been hard at work to improve and invest in programs and system changes that will house our heroes. Nationally, we are seeing results. According to the 2014 Point-in-Time Count, the number of homeless veterans has dropped 33 percent since that challenge was issued.
During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, he used his public platform to draw attention to the marginalized in our society. That included people experiencing homelessness.
After his historic Congressional address, Pope Francis left the Capitol to have lunch with 300 low income and homeless people at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, DC. There he remarked, “Let me be clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
Suddenly it’s everywhere: Congressional hearings, daily news stories, a pledge from hundreds of mayors. Community leaders and federal officials are talking about ending homelessness for veterans – not as some vague aspiration for the distant future, but by the end of this year, just a few months from now!
What’s going on?