Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Help wanted: McKinney-Vento advocates needed

Good Morning McKinney Campaign Advocates,

I hope you’re all doing well and had a great Independence Day holiday weekend! The House HUD appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to vote on its draft FY 2012 funding bill next Thursday, July 14. They will likely release the details on either July 13 or July 14. Because this bill will be the first proposal from Congress, we need YOUR help to make sure it is as good as possible!
Here’s what you can do:
a. Call your representative’s DC office. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues. (We can help you find out who this is.)
b. Use the attached talking points to request that their boss ask HUD appropriations subcommittee leaders to provide $2.4 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in the draft FY 2012 funding bill.

Let us know which offices you contacted! Email Kate Seif at or me at

Going on Capitol Hill Day visits at our annual conference next week?
If you are planning to participate in Capitol Hill Day visits at the Alliance’s annual conference next week, the timing couldn’t be more perfect! The bill will come out DURING the conference. As you work to confirm your meetings and let congressional offices know you’ll be in town next week, mention that you hope their boss will take action before the conference. Then, during the meetings, you can either thank them for taking action or ask that they work with you throughout the rest of the process to improve the draft House bill. If you want more information on Capitol Hill day, just let me know.

Current Policy/Budget Environment and Timing
There is little doubt that Congress is going to cut spending even more than they did in the final FY 2011 bill. It’s up to us to make sure that those cuts don’t happen on the backs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness! Right now, congressional and White House leaders are negotiating about the larger debt/deficit situation. Whatever deal they reach (which is expected in the coming weeks), it will likely set the overall amount of funding available to the appropriations committees for FY 2012. Then, the appropriations committees will divide that up among the various subcommittees (including the HUD subcommittee).

For the most part, the Senate is expected to wait for these larger issues to be resolved before it moves forward with its own appropriations bills. The House, however, is moving forward anyway. As a result, the bill being released next week will almost certainly be very different from the final FY 2012 funding bill. It gives the House a chance to demonstrate its goals for cutting spending. As a result, the bill may not be quite as good as we would like – but we need to make sure that it’s as good as possible and that Members of Congress understand how absolutely CRITICAL it is to provide $2.4 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in the final FY 2012 budget. This will be a starting point for other bills, and we need a STRONG opening proposal.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, and thanks in advance for your help.


Amanda Krusemark
Director of Policy Outreach
National Alliance to End Homelessness
1518 K Street NW, Suite 410
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 942-8256

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
House Talking Points
FY 2012 “Ask” Pres. FY 2012 Request FY 2011 Level FY 2010 Level
$2.4 billion $2.372 billion $1.905 billion $1.865 billion

Talking Points
You do not need to use all of these talking points. Discuss the ones that seem most relevant to your community or program.
• Please contact the leaders of the HUD appropriations subcommittee to ask that, as they draft the House’s FY 2012 HUD funding bill, they provide $2.4 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program.
• Homelessness is Solvable. Between 2005 and 2007, McKinney-funded programs contributed to a 10 percent drop in homelessness nationally. From 2005 to 2009, chronic homelessness fell by more than one-third. Between 2008 and 2009, as the recession hit, homelessness only went up about 3 percent nationally – a testament to communities’ commitment to implementing proven solutions to the problem.
• Need. However, with the recession, we have seen more people at risk of homelessness. Discuss the need your community is seeing for increased federal homelessness resources due to the recession and cuts in state and local budgets.
• Bipartisan Support. We must continue efforts over the last decade by congresses and administrations from both parties to make preventing and ending homelessness a top priority.
• These Programs Work. HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs have strong support because they are repeatedly proven effective at preventing and ending homelessness for families, veterans, individuals, youth, and children. Discuss local declines in homelessness. If recent data shows an increase in homelessness, discuss the progress that had been made prior to the recession.
• The 2009 reauthorization bill, the HEARTH Act, increased the focus of McKinney-Vento programs even further on proven models.
o Permanent Supportive Housing. Discuss the role of McKinney-funded PSH in reducing chronic homelessness in your communities. Explain the cost-effectiveness of PSH.
o Rapid Re-Housing and Prevention. The HEARTH Act expanded the low-cost, efficient models of rapid re-housing and emergency prevention through the Emergency Solutions block grant. Discuss the success of local HPRP initiatives (with data if possible) and the need to replace it with a more permanent source. Share the average cost of an HPRP intervention.
• Community Impact. Discuss what, specifically, your community could use additional McKinney-Vento funding to do. Describe a program that could be created or an existing program that could continue.
• Please continue to show your support for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program by contacting the leaders of the HUD appropriations subcommittee to ask them to provide $2.4 billion in FY 2012 for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program.

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