Tell Congress: You’re paying attention

Yes, there’s an election. Please vote, and help homeless people you work with vote. But that’s not all.

Your advocacy with Congress can have a big and concrete impact on how many homeless people can access housing. The incredible work around the country by people in the homeless services community has created an opportunity to include a strong increase in funding for homelessness programs this year. It is, however, far from a done deal. But you can help.

Tell Congress that you care about funding for homeless services by taking the actions in our list below.

What we’ve done, and why we need your help

Whatever happens with the election, there’s a high probability that Congress will come back to DC on Nov. 15 and quickly finalize spending bills.

Our staff and national partners have spent the last few months meeting with Congressional staffers who will be central to these funding decisions. We’ve talked to them about what’s needed, why this year is important and what a funding increase would accomplish. We’ve told them about what you’re doing in your communities, how you’re making life better for the most vulnerable people.

What only you can do is demonstrate, through calls, letters, emails, tweets, and personal presence, that their constituents are paying attention to what Congress is doing to end homelessness.

How you can help

  1. Between now and election day, continue to use the Make Room Campaign website to send messages to Congress. If you haven’t used it yet, our website can walk you through how to do that.
  2. On Tuesday, Nov. 15 and Wednesday, Nov. 16, call and/or email your Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and tell them the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) homeless programs work and they need more money to help your community end homelessness.Nov. 15 and 16 are the days when Senators and Representatives are back from their home states, figuring out what they need to get done before adjourning. Hearing from constituents about funding for homeless services programs will have a big impact at this time. We’ll have more on that as the time approaches. If one of your Members of Congress is retiring or has not been reelected, they will still be in Congress through Jan. 3, so they are the ones to contact.
  3. Get ready to keep the drumbeat going. It’s still unclear what Congress’ exact schedule will be for the rest of the year. One extreme is that they will make funding decisions at the end of the week of Nov. 14. The other extreme is that Congress will delay decision making anywhere from a few days to a few months. There’s a good chance we will have more clarity by Nov. 18.At that point we’ll have suggestions for what else you can do to have an impact. If you find out something that sounds important in this regard, please pass it on.

You are making a difference

This has been an intense year for people working on homelessness. All of you who are reading this have been part of incredible work, in the face of uncertainty and obstacles, to make our communities and the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors better.

Having the resources you need is an important part of that success: an increase of $200 million in HUD’s Homeless Assistance account would mean housing instead of homelessness for around 40,000 people, in the first year. There is no other federal program that has that kind of impact on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable Americans. But the people making those decisions won’t know unless you tell them.

We’ll help in whatever way we can – check our advocacy page for resources, or email us with questions.