Last year was a challenging year for homeless assistance and affordable housing advocates. Despite plenty of uphill battles against budget restraints, congressional gridlock, and competing policy priorities they persevered and achieved some very impressive gains in 2015.
Last week, just in time for the New Year (and to avert another government shutdown), Congress passed a final $1.1 trillion spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 that will fund all federal discretionary programs through next fall. President Obama signed the bill into law Friday, Dec. 18.
The bill includes all federal agencies’ discretionary spending: big ticket items like the military, veterans’ health care, education and law enforcement support, medical research, and virtually all of the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including all its major homeless programs.
Research shows that people who have spent time in the foster care system tend to become homeless at an earlier age than homeless people without foster care histories. They’re also overrepresented among the homeless youth population.
It’s well known in the homeless assistance field that the foster care system itself is a feeder into youth homelessness, but this year it’s come to the attention of several senators who have introduced legislation to address the problem.
Are you a motivated, mid-level professional in the homeless assistance field? Do you want to explore best practices in the UK? If this describes you, I’ve got some exciting news: the application is now open for the Transatlantic Practice Exchange.
The Transatlantic Practice Exchange is an opportunity for five professionals from the homeless services field in the U.S., and five from the UK, to spend up to two weeks learning about a topic area of interest across the pond. During their placement, they will explore their topic with a host organization and other organizations locally. On their return, they’ll write a report on the lessons they've learned, and work to implement the lessons in their own work.
These talking points are meant to help advocates explain to their members of Congress the purpose of legislation that will prevent eligibility changes for certain housing assistance programs that serve homeless veterans.