NAEH Quarterly Report

National Alliance to End Homelessness - Advocacy Update
April 22, 2015

Quarterly Report: Announcements and Recap
This Quarterly Report includes a preview of key upcoming activities for advocates, as well as a review of major developments from the last quarter. Specifically, this issue reviews:
  • Homelessness Funding Update;
  • Preview of Capitol Hill Day 2015;
  • Letter Writing Campaign Results;  
  • Organizational 302(b) Sign-On Letter Results;
  • Release of State of Homelessness in America 2015 

Homelessness Funding Update

Congress is continuing its work on fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) homelessness programs. To recap activity to date, in the President's Budget Proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2016, which was released on Monday, February 2, the Administration proposed a $2.480 billion spending level for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program. The President's Budget Proposal also included a request for $21.1 billion for Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance in FY 2016. On Thursday, February 6, the Alliance hosted a webinar that provided a brief overview of the federal budget and appropriations process and an analysis of the Administration's proposed funding levels for key homelessness and affordable housing programs. You can find further materials on what the President's Budget Proposal would mean for homeless assistance and affordable housing program here.

On Wednesday, February 25 and Wednesday, March 11, HUD Secretary Julian Castro testified before the House and Senate's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittees regarding HUD's fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding level request in the President's Budget Proposal. Secretary Castro testified that the proposal includes funding that would effectively end chronic homelessness and would make significant strides in the work to end homelessness among families and youth.

The Senate and House passed their respective fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget resolutions on March 27 and March 25, respectively. Both FY 2016 budget resolutions will maintain the sequester spending caps for non-defense discretionary spending, the portion of the federal budget that funds homeless assistance and affordable housing programs. This would result in flat funding or even funding cuts to the programs.

This spring the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees will begin to draft and release their FY 2016 appropriations bills. Members of Congress need to hear from YOU how important the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs are! These next few months will require a steady stream of advocacy to ensure we will not have to cut our programs. We can no longer allow Congress to use the excuse of a difficult funding environment - we must work to move these programs forward and reach our goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2017 and family homelessness by the end of 2020!

Preview: Capitol Hill Day 2015 

During the next quarter, we will begin planning Capitol Hill Day 2015, to be held in conjunction with the Alliance's National Conference on Ending Homelessness from July 15 to 17 in Washington, DC. Each year, Capitol Hill Day provides an opportunity for conference attendees to inform federal policymakers about solutions to homelessness. Attendees are able to speak first-hand about the scope of homelessness and the successful interventions being implemented in their communities - one of the most important ways to impact federal homelessness policy. This year, Capitol Hill Day will take place on Friday, July 17. 

Capitol Hill Day 2014 was yet another success, with well over 235 participants attending over 200 congressional meetings with Members of Congress from 33 states! If you are interested in serving as a State Captain this year or in participating in Capitol Hill Day, please contact Julie Klein at or Jaime Colman at! Help us to ensure that this year we are again successful at educating congressional offices about their roles in ending homelessness!

Fantastic Advocacy Results from Our Letter Writing Campaign!   

In the past few months, the Alliance has been proud of the advocacy actions taken by many of our partners across the country. During our March Letter Writing Campaign, we asked advocates to send letters to Members of Congress urging them to support increased funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Programs in FY 2016. In just eight days, our advocates were quite productive! Collectively, you all took well over 250 advocacy actions, going beyond sending letters to making calls, sending emails, and distributing action alerts.

We have already seen the fruits of these efforts through the fantastic results from the Dear Colleague sign-on letters circulated in the House and Senate. The House Dear Colleague letter, circulated by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), calling for the Appropriations Committee to provide $2.480 billion for McKinney programs in FY 2016 got 111 signatures - 22 more than last year and a record for the letterThe Senate Dear Colleague letter, circulated by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), calling for the Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding for McKinney and $21.1 billion for the Section 8 TBRA program in FY 2016, received 23 signatures. Although it received the support of five fewer signers than last year's Senate Dear Colleague letter in support of McKinney, this marked the first time in recent years that a Dear Colleague letter in the Senate has included a requested increase for Section 8 TBRA, and we are proud that 23 Senators publically supported both programs. 

In a very difficult budget environment, in which there is only minimally more money to spend this year than last year, it was particularly important that we sent a strong message early in the federal funding process about the need for increased funding for McKinney and Section 8 TBRA programs, and you all rose to the challenge! Thank you for your efforts, and well done!   

Many Organizations Sign-On to Letter for Non-Defense Discretionary Funding!

In March, The Alliance helped our national partners send an organizational sign-on letter with 3,020 signatures to Senate and House appropriators urging them to increase the fiscal year (FY) 2016 302(b) allocation to their respective Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) to the highest possible level. The 302(b) funding allocation determines how much money is available for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, including homeless assistance and affordable housing programs, as well as community development, job training, public health, national park, and scientific research programs, among others. This letter showed Members of Congress how important it is that sequestration relief be equally balanced between non-defense and defense programs. Thank you for your efforts in signing on to and circulating this very important letter!

On Friday, April 17, House appropriators released their 302(b) allocations. For FY 2016, House 302(b) allocations include $55.27 billion for THUD programs, a small $1.5 billion increase over what the Congress appropriated in FY 2015. Stay tuned to the Alliance's weekly Hill Update for further analysis on what these 302(b) allocations would mean for HUD programs. 

Alliance Releases The State of Homelessness in America 2015

 On Thursday, April 2, the Alliance released a new report, The State of Homelessness in America 2015, our annual assessment of homelessness data and risk factors. The report examines national and state trends in homelessness, risk factors associated with homelessness, and housing assistance available for people experiencing homelessness. According to the report, during a period of economic growth for the nation when unemployment decreased in nearly every state, the rate of homelessness fell by just 2.3 percent, and the number of people at risk of homelessness has yet to return to pre-recession levels.

 Though national data show that targeted funding for homeless programs is reducing homelessness, the number of low-income people living in doubled-up situations with family and friends is growing, and the number of poor renter households who must pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing remains at a historic high, demonstrating that the affordable housing crisis is threatening progress.

 Look out for a future Advocacy Update including a sample Op-Ed that you can use to draw your congressional delegations' attention to the nature and extent of homelessness in your community, and the role that providing federal funding for homeless assistance and affordable housing programs plays in ending it.

Stay tuned to future Advocacy Updates and the Alliance's website for further information!  


The Alliance works collaboratively with its local, state, and national partners to advance policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness.

Jaime Colman
Policy Outreach Associate

Julie Klein
Policy Outreach Associate