Housing and Homeless Program Targeted for Cuts

This in from the Interfaith Council:

The House and Senate are getting ready to pass budget resolutions that will profoundly affect how much funding is available for housing and homelessness programs next year.

Contact your Representative and Senators Dole and Burr TODAY!

Tell them the Budget Resolution is going to hurt our successful efforts on ending homelessness in North Carolina.


Senator Dole's Office: 202/224-6342 staff: Al Garesche, if not available, ask for Amanda Nealy

Senator Burr's Office: 202/224-3154 staff: Drew Elliot

To find contact information for your Representative, go to www.house.gov and enter your zip code

What if I don't know very much about the federal budget?

It doesn't matter! Members of Congress need to know that you are paying attention to the federal budget process and that you expect them to prioritize the needs of homeless and low-income people and families. How much detail you go into is up to you. A simple call from you tells them that their vote on the resolution impacts North Carolina.

Why does the budget resolution matter?

The budget resolution will do 2 very important things.

1. It will set a cap on the amount of funding for domestic discretionary programs. These are programs that Congress must fund every year like McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

The budget resolution does not set funding levels for individual programs, but a very low cap will make it more difficult to get adequate funding later when Congress has to determine individual funding levels.

2. The Budget resolution will instruct Congress to make further budget cuts to mandatory programs later in the year. Mandatory programs are programs like Medicaid and TANF, which Congress doesn't have to fund every year. Giving instructions may sound harmless, but it makes it much easier for Congress to pass harmful budget cuts in the future.

What's going on with CDBG?

There has been a great deal of concern over the President's proposal to move CDBG to commerce and a cut in funding. We are now hearing from our national partners and from Senators Burr and Dole that this move is not going to happen. The larger concern is that overall HUD funding will not be adequate. If CDBG is left under HUD, we expect that it will have to be absorbed by the proposed level of funding for HUD FY 2006. We need you to help our congresspersons understand why CDBG is important. We must make clear the need for CDBG AND other HUD programs (McKinney, Section 8, Section 811) so they can't rob peter to pay paul. We know all of these programs are essential to fund housing and homeless programs in your community.

What can I say?

There are many ways you can make your voice heard. We suggest the following:

§ Call the offices of your Representative and both your Senators. Tell them the following:

The increase in McKinney money is greatly appreciated—and urgently needed. We'd like you to uphold the proposed funding level of McKinney and fully fund other HUD programs essential to ending homelessness (CDBG, Section 8, Section 811)

”Please oppose the budget resolution that is currently being considered.” Explain that funding for housing and homelessness programs is vital for your program and your community and what it does specifically.

Ask your Senators to”1. support an amendment from Senator Smith that would eliminate proposed cuts to Medicaid, and 2. support an amendment from Senator Sarbanes that would increase funding for the Community Development Block Grant.” If you have additional time, explain how Medicaid and CDBG are crucial to your work in the community.

What else can I do?

§ Email your Senator and Representatives using the Legislative Action Center of the Coalition on Human Needs:

You should customize the email message to describe how important federal funding is to homeless people and the programs that serve them in your community. You may also add the following language regarding CDBG cuts.

”Please support the amendment to be offered by Senator Sarbanes to restore funding for Community Development Block Grants, a vital resource in our community.”

Learn more about the budget process and the details of the budget resolutions. being considered.

If you contact Burr and Dole and/or your Representative, let us know that you made contact, and what they said! Email or call Denise Neunaber at info@ncceh.org or 919.755.4393.



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