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Monthly Archives: February 2009
The message: Remind your legislators to have a heart for our neighbors facing or at risk of homelessness. The Governor’s proposed budget currently balances the budget on the backs of the poor. We have the resources and can do better than the Governor’s budget to move efforts forward to end homelessness.
Whom to write: Your Minnesota State Senator and Representative
§ Keep it personal. Talk about yourself. Why is housing/ending homelessness important to you? What experiences have you had with individuals facing housing instability?
§ It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. It costs more to “manage” the aftermath of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, than it does to prevent and “end” homelessness. It’s time we stop managing homelessness and begin to invest the resources needed to end homelessness.
§ We can do better. Minnesota has the resources to address the housing needs of our low-income neighbors. It is time that our state leaders declare that homelessness is unacceptable, and that we must do and can better.
Background: Please review the attached sheet on the 2009 Legislative Agenda of Heading Home Minnesota and make an effort in your message to your legislators to name the three items noted in the document:
1. Preserve current investments for homeless prevention, outreach, emergency shelters, and transitional and permanent supportive housing. Maintaining current funding for the continuum of housing and shelter alternatives for homeless adults, youth, and children that reduce repetitive use of costly services and create positive outcomes.
2. Secure flexible supportive services funding for existing supportive housing. An additional $42 million would fully fund services for long-term homeless individuals, youth and families in existing supportive housing, including developments in process that have received a capital commitment.
3. Increase the Housing Trust Fund for rent assistance. A $4 million increase would maintain existing supportive housing opportunities; and an additional $2 million increase would help move homeless households into permanent housing.
TODAY’S ACTION: Email and/or call your Congresspeople to urge them to maintain $1.5 Billion for homeless prevention in the economic stimlulus plan.
The message: Support the inclusion of the $1.5 billion for ESG in the final American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, as was requested by the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees. Additionally, ask them to contact their leadership to support the inclusion of funding in the final bill to further mend the effects of the housing and economic crisis:
§ $10 billion over two years for the National Housing Trust Fund to develop housing affordable for families with extremely low incomes and assist projects that are stalled because of the financial crisis.
§ $3.6 billion over two years for 400,000 Section 8 housing choice vouchers to assist families at the brink of homelessness. Additionally, if the recovery package stimulates affordable housing production as planned, rental subsidies will be needed to help owners maintain the affordability of the units.
Whom to Email/Call:
|Senator Amy Klobuchar||202-224-3244||http://klobuchar.senate.gov/emailamy.cfm|
|7||Rep.Collin C. Peterson||202-225-2165||http://collinpeterson.house.gov/email.html|
|8||Rep.James L. Oberstar||202-225-6211||http://wwwc.house.gov/oberstar/zipauth.htm|
§ Housing is an essential part of our country’s economic stimulus.
§ Investing in homeless prevention makes sense. The cost to prevent homeless is much less expensive (to the taxpayer and to families facing housing stability) than the cost of managing a family’s homelessness.
§ Minnesota families will benefit from this investment. Minnesotans are facing record number of foreclosures, shelters are beyond capacity.
§ Tell your story. Include your experience working with people facing homelessness and why ending and preventing homelessness matters to you!
Additional Information: This past week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of an economic recovery bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, and the full Senate is expected to vote on a bill next week. Both the House and Senate bills include $1.5 billion for homeless prevention activities through the Emergency Shelter Grants Program (ESG). This funding is sufficient to assist approximately 800,000 vulnerable people (many of whom are in a recession-related housing crisis) stay in or find housing.
The investments made in ESG and several other critical low-income housing assistance programs in the economic recovery plan are strongly supported by homeless and housing advocates. This funding will have a major impact on communities’ capacity to respond to homelessness. However, neither the House nor the Senate version includes funding for the National Housing Trust Fund or additional Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers, as many advocates have urged.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week so that the legislation may proceed to the conference stage as quickly as possible. The full House passed its version of the bill on January 28. The House and Senate leadership hope to send a final bill to the President by President’s Day recess on February 16.
Welcome to DCEH, Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness, working and living in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.