What Does the Shutdown Mean for Homelessness Programs?

The 115th Congress is done. And it adjourned without passing a final Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (along with a number of other agencies). To make matters worse, no temporary bill is currently in place (although final Fiscal Year 2019 bills are done for Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and some others).

And, so, we are in the midst of a partial government shutdown.

Pressure is building to reach a compromise to fund the government, and the Alliance is working hard to ensure that final bill includes increases for HUD programs that are most important to ending homelessness. In fact, prior to the shutdown, Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate had reportedly agreed on a bill that included critically important funding increases for HUD homelessness programs.

The Biggest Danger 

The biggest danger for homeless services is that in the scramble to finish a bill, Congress will use these new funds for other purposes.

It’s important that members of Congress know that this would be a mistake. FY 2018 funds are insufficient for FY 2019 needs. They wouldn’t cover the cost of increasing rents, or the rising number of people coming into the homelessness system. The only way to meet these needs is to increase funding for Homeless Assistance and Rental Assistance programs.

What You Can Do 

That means it’s time for a last advocacy push. The work starts this week. We’re asking everyone who cares about homelessness to be part of a wave of emails to our members of Congress letting them know that their constituents need them to support this. 

The Alliance has developed online tools to help you send this message. You can find them here. You can also sign up for Advocacy Alerts to help you stay up to date on what’s happening in Congress and what you can do about it. 

Finally, we need to hear from people around the country about the impacts of the partial federal shutdown on homelessness programs and on homelessness. If things are happening in your community, please let us know. Please email us at sberg@endhomelessness.org with the subject line “Shut Down Impact.”