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Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness
Help Strengthen Our Communities

Policy Recommendations of the Housing Community Development Network (HCDNNJ)

1. Maintain the capacity of federal housing resources to address the housing needs of very low income workers and people on fixed incomes:

Problem: The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly, Section 8) is currently the best vehicle to help very low-income (e.g. under 30% of median income or earning under $25,000/year 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 $729/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:

  • Fully fund the 60,107 the current Tenant Based Rental vouchers in NJ - The President’s budget proposes level funding of $17.238 billion for contract renewals. We are concerned that this is inadequate to fully fund all vouchers.
  • Continue to fully fund all of NJ’s 49,621 current Project Based Rental Assistance vouchers - The President’s budget proposes to CUT funding from $9.34 to $8.7 billion. We are concerned that this will lead to short term contracts and jeopardize the program.
  • Fully fund the Public Housing Capital Fund at its FY ’10 level of $2.5 billion so NJ’s 37,154 public housing residents will have safe, decent housing - The President’s budget proposes $2.07 billion which is an increase from $1.875 billion last year.
  • Stop President’s proposal to mandate a raise the minimum rent in public housing to $75 from current discretionary $50 minimum. This will increase homelessness.
  • Restore the Community Development Block Grant to FY 11 funding - The President’s budget proposes level funding of almost $3 billion which is far below the $3.3 billion in FY11.
2. Strengthen our economy by building housing that lower income workers, the elderly and disabled can afford:

Problem: New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the nation in which to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Over 1/4 million low and moderate-income New Jersey residents have severe housing burdens, 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.

Action:

  • Restore the HOME Investment Partnership to FY 11 funding– The President’s budget proposes funding of $1 billion, the same as last year which is far below the $1.825 billion in FY11.
  • Continue full funding for the Housing for the Elderly (202) and Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program (811). The President’s budget proposes an increase in 202 funding from $375 to $475 million (this doesn’t restore funding which was $825 m in 2009)and a cut in disability’s housing from $165to $150 million (far below the $300 m in 2010
  • Fund the National Housing Trust Fund - This is not a budget item, but finding a mechanism to fund this program will go a long way toward addressing the housing needs of the neediest. The President is proposing $1 billion for next year.
  • Continue the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program - This is not a budget item but is the major program to finance the building of rental housing and has proved highly successful.
3. Create a robust 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 led 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.

Action

  • Reforms to HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act needs at least $2.4 billion funding to prevent and shorten homelessness and to help produce new permanent housing. The President’s budget proposes increased funding from $1.9 to $2.23 billion.
  • Continue funding for the Veterans Administration Supported Housing (VASH) program (Rental Assistance combined with supportive services from the VA) - The President’s budget proposes level funding of $75 million.
  • Continue funding for the Section 811 (People with disabilities) mainstream vouchers - The President’s budget proposes level funding of $112 million that has been allocated for this critical program in the past.
  • The Administration requested flat funding of $115 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs in FY 2013 – the same as in FY 2012. The National Alliance to End Homelessness and National Network for Youth are requesting a funding level of $127 million, which will fund existing Basic Center, Transitional Living Program, and Street Outreach activities, while also allowing communities to better meet the housing and services needs of unaccompanied homeless and runaway youth.
For more information contact:

Arnold Cohen, Policy Coordinator, HCDNNJ – 609-393-3752, acohen@hcdnnj.org
Allison Recca-Ryan, CSH - NJ Director - (609) 392-7820, Alison.recca-ryan@csh.org
Richard Brown, Monarch Housing 908-272-5363 ext. 225, rbrown@monarchhousing.org.


Mercer Alliance Logo Call Your Senators and Representatives to Request an Increase in THUD Subcommittee Funding for FY13

A large number, 1,723 organizations signed Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations urging them to increase the 302(b) allocation for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittees.

This week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will decide how to divide up FY13 appropriations funds and how much money the THUD Subcommittees will receive. To provide more funds to HUD this fiscal year, appropriators must increase the THUD subcommittee allocation (the “THUD 302(b) allocation”).

HUD programs will likely be cut deeply unless the THUD subcommittee allocation is increased above its FY12 302(b) allocation.

Appropriators will not increase THUD funding unless they hear from you. Now, appropriators need calls from all housing advocates to urge an increase for the THUD subcommittee.


MA Logo On Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28, national organizations supporting HUD programs are joining together for national call-in days. On these days, call your Senators and Representative and ask them to tell the Appropriations Committee Chairs to increase the THUD subcommittee funding allocation in FY13. This will help support affordable housing, community development and transportation programs in your state and district.

To get contact information for your Senators and Representative, call the congressional switchboard toll free at 877-210-5351 or click the blue Take Action link above.

After your calls, let us know how the calls went; e-mail us at outreach@nlihc.org.

Thank you for your continued support and action!

For more information on the THUD 302(b) allocation, see below.

View the sign-on letter here.


What is the 302(b) allocation?

After Congress passes a budget resolution, which sets the overall spending cap for the fiscal year, the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations each allocate that funding to their 12 appropriations subcommittees. This is called a 302(b) allocation. The subcommittees then divide their funding allocation among the programs over which they have jurisdiction. The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee funds HUD and some of the Department of Transportation.

Why should local groups care about the THUD 302(b)?

A strong 302(b) allocation is critical as it could allow the THUD subcommittee to adequately fund all HUD and Transportation programs. Without it, the THUD subcommittees will be forced to prioritize funds, likely resulting in some or many programs being cut in FY13.

Why is the THUD 302(b) allocation more important this year?

Last summer, Congress agreed to spending caps over the next 10 years. In FY12, the THUD subcommittee allocation was cut deeply. It is unlikely Congress will increase funding without significant advocacy. Also, in FY12, one-time cost-saving provisions were included in the THUD appropriations bill. These savings are no longer available. To even maintain the FY12 level of funds, the 302(b) allocation must be increased.

How will the THUD 302(b) allocation affect my community?

The ultimate impact will not be known until after the end of the appropriations process, but a lower or even level THUD 302(b) allocation for FY13 will likely result in cuts to HUD programs. This means fewer households receiving affordable housing and less funds for community development projects. It also means the loss of existing jobs, opportunities to create jobs lost, halted development projects, and increased need for affordable housing.


MA Logo ITíS NOT TOO LATE! Free Tax Sites Open Across Mercer County for Individuals and Families making less than $50,000

Upcoming Super Tax Days

Mercer County Community College
Wednesdays, March 28 & April 11 at 11am to 3pm

Hamilton Library
Wednesday April 11 from 9am to Noon

United Financial Empowerment Center
Every Tuesday, 11am to 8pm and Saturday, April 14 from 9am to 3pm.

Free Tax Sites

Boys & Girls Club , 212 Centre St., Trenton, NJ
CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT 609-392-3191- ext. 17
Mon – 6:00pm-8pm, Appointments, Tue & Wed. 11am-3pm, WALK-IN
Sat 3/31 & 4/14 12pm-2pm, by Appointment

Crisis Ministry , 123 East Hanover St., Trenton, NJ
Thur. 1pm-4pm, Fri. 1pm-4pm, WALK-IN

Mercer County Hispanic Association (MECHA)
821 S. Broad Street, Trenton - 609-392-2446
Tue 9:30am – 3:30pm, Thu 9:30am -3:30pm - WALK-IN
Hightstown - 102 Main St, 2Fl, Suite 4 & 5 - 609-392-2446
Saturday 4/14 WALK-IN

Hamilton Library – 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Way , Hamilton, NJ
Open 4/2, 4/4, 4/5, Ends 4/11 with Super Blast Tax Day
Mon 4-8pm, appointment, Wed & Thu - 9:00am-12noon, WALK-IN
NO Taxes 3/29

United Financial Empowerment Center
Lawrenceville - 3131 Princeton Pike, Bldg 4, Suite113, WALK-IN
United Way offices, Tuesdays Only 1/31-4/17, Plus Sat 4/14 9am-3pm

For other sites in the Mercer County area Call 211


For More Information

Please Contact: Tarry Truitt, Communications and Project Manager, ttruitt@merceralliance.org or 609-844-1008.

 

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