Now that we’re approaching the end of the Federal Fiscal Year (it ends on September 30), you may be wondering where spending levels for homeless programs stand. Under normal circumstances, the full Senate and House of Representatives would have passed spending bills by now and they would be working to reconcile them. Circumstance have changed.
Do we have cause for hope or alarm? Well, yes and yes. This phase of the appropriations process has in recent years become so contentious and fraught that it has resulted in government shutdowns and a budgetary compromise (sequestration) that everyone agrees was a bad idea to begin with. So it should come as no surprise that the appropriations process for FY 2016 is, for the time being, stalled.
You may know Richard Gere as the actor who appeared in "Pretty Woman," maybe even as the close personal friend of the Dalai Lama, but did you know he’s also a longtime advocate for human rights?
He’s taking that spirit of advocacy to the big screen in his new film “Time Out of Mind.” The film, which will be released in September, documents the struggles of a homeless man (played by Gere) living on the streets of New York City. Last month Gere stopped by our 2015 National Conference on Ending Homelessness to discuss his experience making it.
This July, more than 275 advocates swarmed Capitol Hill during the Alliance’s Capitol Hill Day event to tell Congress about the excellent work federally funded homeless assistance programs are doing in their communities and how Congress can better support them.
Congress is now on recess, so the place for advocates to find members is no longer the Hill; it’s their home states and districts. If you participated in Capitol Hill Day, it’s time to extend the conversation with your member of Congress and show them your program. If you missed out, it’s time to build a relationship.
In June, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. That was good news for the almost 6 million people who would have lost their health care insurance if the ruling had gone the other way.
The ruling also meant that Obamacare is likely to remain intact. And with Obamacare in place, more and more states are likely to expand their Medicaid programs to cover people with low incomes, not just families or people with disabilities. This means that the majority of extremely low income and homeless persons can keep their access to health care in places that have expanded Medicaid. To date 30 states have expanded their Medicaid coverage. And other states may join the list.
On behalf of the District of Columbia, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to our nation’s capital – where we have joined the nationwide race to end homelessness.
Washington is a wonderful city, a world-class city. This is my hometown, and I can tell you firsthand – we’ve come a long way since I was a kid. We enjoy one of the healthiest economies in the country. We are one of the fastest growing cities. We top just about every ‘top 10’ list when it comes to livability. And our city finances are strong. Yet despite our tremendous success and prosperity, prosperity does not reach every corner of our city.