by Jaime Colman
On Wednesday, Sept. 29 Congress voted to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). This means government funded programs will continue to operate under Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 levels through Dec. 9.
While the CR does mean avoidance of a government shutdown, it also means the homeless services community has a new opportunity to push for increased funding for programs.
Members delayed their decisions on FY2017 funding levels to come home to their states and districts for the election season. We can take advantage of this by scheduling site visits, in-district meetings and generally making noise about homelessness while they are home. During this time advocates can raise awareness among the public and Congress about the issue of and solutions to homelessness, as well as educate Congress on the need for increased resources for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and ensure that it provides at least $2.487 billion for this program in its final FY 2017 spending bill.
The best actions advocates can take this fall are:
Join the Fall 2016 Local Member Engagement Campaign
Research shows that hosting a Member of Congress for a site visit of your McKinney-funded program is one of the most impactful ways to engage your lawmakers. If your Member does not have time in their schedule to attend a site visit, or if you do not have the capacity to plan one, the next best thing is to conduct in-district (or state) congressional meetings. Another way you can engage your Members during this election season is to raise the issue of homelessness at a public campaign event! The Alliance has many materials to help you plan and execute your site visits, meetings and/or public campaign events.
Join the Make Room Campaign
Join the Make Room Campaign’s goal to send a million messages to Congress by Election Day demanding attention and action on affordable housing issues! Include specific messages about the importance of funding McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants at least at $2.487 billion in the final FY 2017 HUD spending bill by using our message templates.
While Members are home this fall, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to show and tell them why Congress should invest in proven solutions to homelessness by providing at least $2.487 billion for Homeless Assistance
Grants in FY2017!