Category: Advocacy

Here’s what Homeless Advocates Accomplished in 2014 (Against the Odds)

The second session of the 113th Congress started out unusually, under a continuing resolution, or stopgap funding measure, to avert a government shutdown. This foreshadowed the rest of the year, during which congressional activity could be described as dysfunctional, unproductive, partisan, and chocked-full of manufactured crises.

In this context, 2014 was a challenging year in which advocates for homeless assistance programs fought an uphill battle. However, this did not keep homeless advocates across the country from drawing attention to the need for increased federal funding for vital homeless assistance programs in their communities. In light of the considerable challenges they faced, homeless advocates achieved some impressive gains in 2014.

In early March, the FY 2015 federal funding process commenced on an optimistic note with the release of President Obama’s Budget Proposal, which included various provisions favorable to people experiencing homelessness, among them a proposed $301 million increase for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program. While some lawmakers expressed hope that appropriations bills would pass in a timely manner, partisan divides prevailed and gridlock soon set in.

Legislative Fixes for VA Homeless Assistance Programs

This brief describes needed legislative activity around the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless veteran programs in the upcoming 114th Congress. The Alliance and its national partners will be advocating for these changes to improve the effectiveness of VA’s efforts to end veteran homelessness.

National Housing Trust Fund

The goal of the Trust Fund is to provide ongoing, permanent, dedicated, and sufficient sources of revenue to build, rehabilitate, and preserve units of housing for the lowest-income families.

LGBTQ Youth National Policy Statement

As many as 20 percent of the runaway and homeless youth population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). This suggests as many as 80,000 LGBTQ youth are homeless for over a week each year. These young people face particular difficulties. Ending homelessness for LGBTQ youth will require specific policies to address those difficulties.

Changes in the HUD Definition of “Homeless”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a final regulation to implement changes to the definition of homelessness contained in the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. The new definition is outlined here.

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