Federal Current Priority
National Organizations Sponsor Congressional Call-In WeekThe National Alliance to End Homelessness, Mercer Alliance have teamed up with its national partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) and are asking their to call their Members of Congress to ask for as much funding as possible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including an INCREASE to HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.
The House and Senate have both released their fiscal year (FY) 2012 funding bills in recent weeks, which include proposed funding levels for HUD's low-income housing and homelessness programs. Their proposals included almost no additional funding for low-income housing and homelessness programs and flat funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are now expected to work in conference over the coming weeks to reconcile differences in the two bills and come to an agreement on compromise funding levels for HUD and other programs before final legislation is passed. This could be the last chance for advocates to reach out to their Members and impact the final funding levels for FY 2012.
The call-in week aims to convince Members of Congress to provide as much funding for HUD as possible. We urge you to call all your Members of Congress next week and ask them to provide as much funding for HUD as possible so that McKinney-Vento programs receive a much-needed increase.
What You Can Do:
Congressional office phone numbers can be found by calling the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Senate Committee Flat Funds McKinney, Recommends New VASH, Homeless Demonstration FundingLast week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2012 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The legislation included:
Earlier this month, the House HUD Appropriations Subcommittee also recommended providing funding for new HUD-VASH vouchers but did not provide an increase in funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento program.
What You Can Do:
Your input is needed on HHS Funding billThe Senate Appropriations Committee also approved its FY 2012 funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week. The legislation included approximately:
The Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended funding a demonstration project to improve coordination among housing and services resources. The Committee's draft legislation would provide $5 million within HUD for payments to public housing authorities (PHAs) that partner with state and local agencies providing TANF, Medicaid, or other services through HHS, as well as Department of Education homeless liaisons, to provide housing and key support services to homeless and at-risk households. In addition, $14.6 million would be available within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be coordinated with HUD. These resources would aim to provide services in permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless people.
What You Can Do:
Help Strengthen Our Communities
Policy Recommendations of the Housing Community Development Network (HCDNNJ) and the NJ Advocacy Network to End Homelessness (NJANEH)
1. Build the capacity of federal housing resources to address the housing needs of very low income workers and people on fixed incomes:
Problem: The section 8 rental assistance voucher program is currently the best vehicle to help very low-income (e.g. under 30% of median income or earning under $25,000year for a family of four) working people and people on fixed incomes afford the high housing costs in New Jersey. A person on SSI receives $583/month and a family of three on TANF receives $424/month. Over 1/3 of the jobs in NJ pay under $25,000/year. There are over a million low income people who pay over half their income to live in New Jersey.
Action: Pass the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act in the House and have it introduced and passed in the Senate. Find a revenue source for the NHTF. Stimulate the LIHTC market by promoting investors return to the marketplace and re-start stalled projects.
2. Strengthen our economy by preserving housing that is currently affordable:
Problem: New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the nation to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Over ¼ million low and moderate-income New Jersey residents have severe housing needs, meaning that they pay over 50% of their income on housing. HUD's own recent worst case housing needs report finds that “worsening shortages of housing affordable and available to extremely-low-income renters…show the underlying gap between demand and supply continues.” We cannot afford to lose any housing that is currently affordable in the state.
Background: H.R. 4868, the Housing Preservation and Tenant Protection Act is comprehensive legislation to prevent the loss of affordable housing dwelling units.
Among the provisions of the bill, it would:
The bill also would enhance the ability of tenants to protect and preserve their homes
Action: Pass HR 4868 and its Senate counterpart.
3. Create a real program to end homelessness:
Problem: There is no place in New Jersey where the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment is affordable to someone working full-time earning under $25,000/year, receiving SSI or TANF. The recent economic crisis and high unemployment has lead to a record number of New Jersey residents becoming homeless. Unless programs to address homelessness are strengthened in coming years — community plans to end homelessness are not likely to succeed in meeting their worthy goals.
Actions: Support the legislation and appropriations listed above.
4. Fully fund HUD housing programs.
Problem: In past years there has been an underfunding of essential housing programs. Homelessness is expanding across the country. The number of Americans who receive rent subsidies remains stuck at about one fourth of those eligible. The stock of housing affordable to those at the bottom of the income scale due to disability, poor education, or disappearing jobs continues to deteriorate. The building blocks of community development and affordable housing help ensure the future sustainability of many communities and encourage critically needed private sector investment and business growth. A serious effort to rebuild these important resources is necessary.
Action: In addition to appropriations listed above we raise the following:
Restore the cuts in programs that produce housing for very low
income seniors and people with disabilities (the cuts to Section
202 from $825 to $274 million and the cuts in the 811 programs
from $300 to $90 million).
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"The Mercer County Board of Social Services alone spends more than $8-$12 million per year for emergency services."
Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness
3150 Brunswick Pike, STE 230, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-2420
Phone: (609) 844-1006 :: Fax: (609) 895-1245