The next two weeks are a key time in Congress’s work to create spending bills for the 2020 Fiscal Year. Hearing from their constituents can make a big difference. This is a good time to sign up for the Alliance’s Advocacy Alerts so that you can be part of that effort.
Big goals for the year
The Alliance’s top priority is a substantial increase in funding for HUD’s homeless assistance programs (the Continuum of Care, and the Emergency Solutions Grants). These programs do excellent work, but need help from Congress to keep up with larger numbers of people experiencing homelessness, and people losing their housing due to increasing rents. The Alliance is calling on Congress to increase funding to $3 billion for Fiscal Year 2020. This represents an increase of $364 million over FY 2019.
What we’ve done already
Initial response from Congress has been excellent. Thanks in part to great work from people around the country, 170 House Members signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters asking that $3 billion for Homeless Assistance be included in the House spending bill. In the Senate, 39 Senators did the same. These are all-time highs for Dear Colleague letters on homeless assistance, and have set a strong mark for the beginning of discussions.
Next things we’re doing
The House is writing the first spending bill, and is moving rapidly. We expect that the subcommittee that writes the Transportation-HUD spending bill will pass its bill sometime shortly after May 20.
We’re asking everyone to sign up for the Alliance’s Advocacy Alerts so that they can engage with Members of Congress and remind them about the importance of this funding. There will be many other advocacy opportunities over the course of the year, of course. But getting a good number in the initial House bill is especially important.
Congress has, for the last several years, provided modest increases to HUD’s homelessness programs. This has been enough to keep up with rising rents for people who are already housed, and also to do a few new initiatives.
But it has not kept up with the large numbers of people who are becoming newly homeless. To keep up with increasing demand, make further progress on reducing homelessness, and recognize and invest in the great work communities are doing with this money, it is essential that Congress substantially increases this support. An appropriation of $3 billion would do so.