We are ending homelessness, and it is vitally important that the people who work for us in Congress do their critical part to help. They can do this by making homeless assistance a priority in federal spending bills this year.
Here are three simple reasons why it needs to be a priority.
1. Reducing homelessness is important to our communities.
It’s the right thing to do because the people we are rescuing from homelessness are among the most vulnerable: people with severe mental illnesses, those who have fallen prey to addiction, infants, teenagers whose families don’t support them, people who’ve been slapped down by changes in the economy. It’s the smart thing to do because homelessness costs taxpayers money by tying up resources like law enforcement and medical care. This is why so many business leaders, mayors, clergy, sheriffs, police chiefs, hospital directors, and other community leaders have aligned themselves with the mission.
2. The money invested has a significant impact because we know how to end homelessness.
Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing movement to use data, research, and experience to figure out how to end homelessness and incentivize communities to implement the best solutions and practices known to end and prevent homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) homelessness programs are set up to encourage local communities to exercise leadership, use competition to get results, and help places learn from each other.
3. This is something Republicans and Democrats can do together.
Since the initial federal policy work on homelessness in the 1980s, Republicans and Democrats at the federal, state and local levels have cooperated because no ideology holds that homeless people dying on the streets is okay. No party opposes taxpayers paying less for better outcomes.
The largest missing piece is money. We have seen the dramatic results for homeless veterans when funding is brought to scale. The amount we need is surprisingly small in the context of the entire federal budget. But without it, our work will stall.
In this environment, getting the appropriate investments from Congress will take strong, unified voices saying that this needs to be a priority. Congress can and must take a significant step toward this priority with each annual budget. But we need entire communities to step up and help deliver this message. We need you to say it’s important for Congress to do its part.
That is why this spring, the Alliance is asking all of you who care about homelessness to step up and help convince Congress to put the money on the table. Help us get the money you need to end homelessness in your community by joining our Spring Homelessness Funding Campaign.
For the next six weeks, we will need a flood of calls and letters asking Congress to up its level of support for homeless assistance. We will need people to plan community events (site visits, meetings, forums) for members of Congress and their staffers during the two-week Congressional recess scheduled for mid-April. And we will also need hundreds of Hill meetings to take place during our conference this July in Washington, D.C.
An important part of this campaign will be to get community leaders to help: mayors, governors, business leaders, educators, law enforcement and others. The whole community will benefit from a solution to homelessness, and we need the help of everyone.
Want to know more? Ready to take action today? Head to our website to find out how you can get involved.
And don’t forget to sign up for our advocacy newsletter to get all of the latest news and updates on our progress. We are going to end homelessness. Our elected officials in Congress are going to be our partners and are going to do their part.