Posted on July 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm
As federal elected officials debate the fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget, funding for key Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing and homelessness programs hangs in the balance. We need to make sure Members of Congress understand the importance of HUD programs in their communities, especially for survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Housing is a critical barrier for many victims of domestic violence. Many victims are unable to leave their abusive homes because they do not have another safe place to live. Through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and the Philadelphia Continuum of Care, we can provide safe homes for survivors of domestic violence in Philadelphia, but we face need like never before.
This past fiscal year, Women Against Abuse was forced to turn away 8,910 requests for safe shelter due to our 100-bed emergency safe haven — the only shelter in the city of Philadelphia for victims of domestic violence—consistently operating at full capacity. The women and children turned away from our safe haven often resort to street homelessness, or return to the hands of their abuser.
We need increased funding for the Homeless Assistance Grant program to help address these challenges.
The President’s FY15 budget proposal included a 14% increase to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, bringing that spend number to $2.405 billion.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation that included $2.145 billion for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, providing a small increase over the FY14 levels, but coming in $255 million below the level proposed by the Administration.
Worse, on June 10th, the House passed legislation that included $2.105 billion for McKinney-Vento, which is the same amount that is provided in the FY14 budget. Unfortunately, due to an increase in renewal demand, this flat-funding actually results in cuts to housing programs.
In order to ensure that housing programs in communities like ours can maintain their services, we need to remind our elected officials that we need their support to end homelessness.
What can I do to help?
Call your federal legislator this month and let them know how important this program is to you and programs like Women Against Abuse.
Ask to speak to the person who handles appropriations or housing issues. Tell the staff person their boss MUST provide more funding for McKinney in FY2015.
Remind them that we must continue to make progress on chronic homelessness. Tell them we need $2.405 billion in order to meet the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2016, and that the families in Philadelphia who are homeless due to domestic violence are counting on their support.
(For more information, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness).
Please call the lawmakers below, or those in your community, and urge them to ensure the safety of families by protecting funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.
To find your federal legislator: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml .