Advocacy Update: Join Efforts to Raise Spending Caps & Increase HUD Funding!

Advocacy Update
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Join Efforts to Increase Spending Caps: Secure More Money for HUD!
Caps Hurt Communities is a new initiative spearheaded by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development (CHCDF) that aims to build a movement of individuals and organizations committed to bringing an end to federal sequester caps (see the “more information” section below for details on sequestration). Congress needs to lift the unfair budget caps to allow appropriators to increase resources for affordable housing, community development, and homeless assistance programs in the final FY 2016 spending bill.

The spending levels provided in the initial versions of the spending bills for HUD programs that passed through the full House and the Senate Appropriations Committee in June do not provide sufficient funding to make the critical investments needed to drive progress at meeting the Opening Doors goals of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2017 or family and youth homelessness by 2020. Further, neither the House nor Senate Appropriations Committee spending bills provide investments to restore any of the 67,000 vouchers lost due to sequestration and target them to vulnerable populations like the Administration requested. Congress needs to hear from advocates that the current situation of homelessness in your community is unacceptable, and that the budget caps NEED to be raised in order to help communities make progress in ending homelessness and restore Housing Choice Vouchers lost due to sequestration cuts.
Here’s What You Can Do: 
  1. Visit to join thousands of advocates across the country who are deeply concerned about the effects of sequestration cuts on critical housing and community development programs.
    1. Join the “Twitterstorm” TODAY and tomorrow using #CapsHurt to oppose sequestration!
  2. Sign your organization (national, state, and local organizations are all welcome to join!) on to this letter circulated by NDD (Non-Defense Discretionary) United urging Congress to build on the Bipartisan Budget Act and stop sequestration.
  3. Invite your Members on a site visit of your program during the August recess, and mention the need to raise the caps during the visit! Site visits are one of the most effective ways to advocate to federal policymakers. 
    1. If you can’t schedule a site visit, try to schedule meetings with your Members in their district or state offices! 
More Information:
Sequestration refers to mechanisms that were set in place to achieve spending reductions through the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). One mechanism required nine annual sequesters of $109 billion (half from defense and half from non-defense programs) to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The first of these annual sequesters took effect in FY 2013, in the form of across-the-board cuts to programs’ already enacted spending levels. Since then, sequestration has been implemented by adhering to lowered defense and non-defense spending caps. However, since the Bipartisan Budget Act temporarily raised the caps for FY 2014-FY 2015 but has now expired, the caps we are facing for FY 2016 are much tighter than in recent years. Note also that the BCA also mandated separate discretionary sequesters if appropriations for any year exceed the annual caps set by the law.

The $2.185 billion spending level included for McKinney in the House bill (written at sequestration level spending caps) should allow programs to continue operating at their current capacities, but would not provide new housing resources. The $2.235 billion for McKinney in the Senate bill (also written under these caps) would provide limited new housing resources with a strong focus on youth homelessness initiatives, but would not make the critical investments in permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing that were included in the President’s Budget Proposal.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have publicly stated that these caps are too low, so along with our other partners advocating on behalf of NDD programs throughout the country, we have a shot at convincing enough Members to raise them. Join the effort to ensure that Members hear why #CapsHurt people experiencing homelessness today! 
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