It’s that time of year again when members of Congress are circulating “Dear Colleague letters” to encourage their colleagues to support increased funding levels for programs that they care about.
As such, we’ve launched a Letter Writing Campaign to urge members of Congress sign on to letters in support of funding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program at the level the Obama Administration proposed for FY 2016: $2.480 billion. This funding level would accelerate our progress toward ending chronic, family, and youth homelessness by allowing us to provide an additional 25,500 units of permanent supportive housing and 15,000 rapid re-housing interventions.
With this letter-writing campaign, we’re also urging Senators to support funding the administration’s proposed funding level of $21.1 billion for the Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program to renew existing vouchers and restore 67,000 of those lost due to sequestration, many of which would be targeted to populations experiencing homelessness.
We’re asking everyone who believes in the Alliance’s mission of ending homelessness to take this opportunity to ask their members of Congress to sign on to these letters or submit programmatic requests to their colleagues on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. (A programmatic request is a request to fund a specific program at a specific funding level.)
We are making this as simple as possible for you by providing sample letters that you can personalize before sending to your members of Congress. We have a long way to go to reach our goal, and time is short. So we really need your help! Our goal is to send at least 500 letters. Letters to Senators are due this upcoming Tuesday, March 17, and letters to Representatives are due Friday, March 20.
If you want to lend your support to our campaign, here are the four simple steps you need to take:
- Personalize one (or more) sample letter(s).
- Mail the letter to your member of Congress’ staff person who handles housing issues. (We’re happy to help you find out who they are.)
- Then, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my colleague Jaime Colman at email@example.com to let us know how many letters you sent (and to whom) so we can track our progress toward reaching our goal. We’re keeping a visual tracker on this page updated with our progress. (I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to report back to us!)
- Spread the word about the campaign by downloading our sample action alert and sample letters and sharing them with your email contacts. Urge them them to send letters to their members of Congress too.
You can find further information about the Dear Colleague letters and a more detailed how-to here.
NOW is the time to take action on this. Every letter matters. This campaign is meant to send a very powerful message next week to members of Congress that increased funding for homeless assistance programs must be a priority. So don’t miss out on this key opportunity to impact the policymaking process.
Please show your support for the hundreds of thousands of homeless people in this country by taking a few minutes to send a letter to your member of Congress today!