The Alliance has an aggressive plan for its work with the U.S. Congress through the end of the year. We want to let you know where we’re focusing our efforts, and how you can help.
Our Top Priority
The Alliance’s first priority is HUD’s Homeless Assistance account, which includes funding for the Continuum of Care, and for Emergency Solutions Grants. So far, in bills based on very low levels of overall spending, the House Committee has kept funding the same as last year, and the Senate has produced a bill with a modest increase.
Unfortunately, these levels are insufficient – they keep the programs at their current capacity, but don’t take into account increased need. Recent data show more people become homeless every day, due to rising rents and increasing evictions. HUD’s Homeless Assistance account, which funds our highly effective crisis response system, needs expanded capacity to meet this expanded demand.
The Good News
Fortunately, there’s a good chance that Congress will make a new budget deal, making more money available overall for HUD and other programs. The need for more homelessness funding, as well as more funding for other programs at HUD and elsewhere, is helping drive that effort forward.
We expect a final decision on funding levels for Fiscal Year 2018 to be made around mid-December. It will be important to act earlier than that, however – offices are already making decisions about which problems with the current House and Senate bills they will try to fix.
What You Can Do
The Alliance’s fall campaign will include several events, timed so that you can have the biggest possible impact on Congress’s deliberations. The newest member of our Advocacy Team—our National Field Organizer, Rashida Latef—will be helping communities organize around many of these events and will be a valuable resource to contact.
Last-minute changes are always possible, but right now we see these as the main components:
- Email campaign – Starting today! Click here to email your member of Congress now.
- Call-in day – Nov. 14. Stay tuned for details on how to participate.
- Thanksgiving visit – Friday, Nov. 17 through Monday, Nov. 27. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to host your Members of Congress while they are back in their home districts for the Thanksgiving recess.
- Local community-wide sign-on letter – By Dec. 8th. Email email@example.com if you would like to organize a letter on behalf of your community.
- Respond to Congress – depending on what Congress has done, there may be additional action.
At the same time, Alliance staff and partners will be meeting with Congressional staffers, to talk about the great work happening in the field, and demonstrate how increased investments can improve outcomes in their districts and states.
How do you get involved? Easy! Start by going to our website and signing up. Then, talk to others in your community who are already involved, use our easy online tools to write that first email, and begin planning for the rest of the events.
Finally, please let us know how we can help.