Advocacy Update: #CapsHurt Campaign and SAMSHA/PATH Sign-On Letter

Advocacy Update
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Join the Caps Hurt Communities Campaign!
Caps Hurt Communities is an ongoing advocacy campaign lead by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development (CHCDF) that aims to create a movement of individuals and organizations committed to bringing an end to federal sequester caps. 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 fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending bill. To learn more about the budget caps read this Advocacy Update and this blog post.

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 Caps Hurt Communities website to join thousands of advocates across the country who are concerned about the effects of sequestration cuts on critical housing and community development programs.

2. Invite your Members on a site visit during the August recess, and mention the need to raise the caps during the visit! If you are unable to schedule a visit during the August recess, it is worthwhile to schedule one during upcoming recesses as site visits are one of the most effective ways to advocate to federal policymakers.  Look at our August 2015 Site Visit Campaign for helpful tips and tools in scheduling and conducting site visits.

3. Send your photos and stories to and share them on social media using #CapsHurt to encourage Congress to lift the caps. Stories and pictures are powerful advocacy tools in connecting policymakers with constituents and programs.

4. Mark your calendars for National Call-In Days on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16. Let your voice to be heard about the harmful consequences the current sequestration caps would cause to your program and community. More information about the call-in days is to come!

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 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.

Join the effort to ensure that Members hear why #CapsHurt people experiencing homelessness today! 
SAMSHA / PATH Organizational Sign-On Letter
The Alliance, along with its national partners, is circulating an organizational sign-on letter to Chairpersons of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittees requesting that Congress avoid harmful funding cuts to SAMHSA homeless programs, particularly the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. These programs are vital to the network of services for homeless persons with severe mental illness and are another example of how funding caps are hurting communities.

On Wednesday, June 24th, the House Appropriations Committee passed legislation that would fund the PATH program at $55 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016, $10 million less than the FY 2015 enacted funding level ($65 million) and the President's Budget Request. On Thursday, June 25th, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation that would fund the PATH program at $40 million in FY 2016, $25 million less than the FY 2015 enacted funding level.

Here’s What You Can Do:

1. Click here to read the letter and contact Jaime Colman by close of business Friday, August 28 to sign on to the letter.

2. Forward this link to local and state partners and ask them to sign the letter too!

More Information:
The PATH program provides services that include outreach, screening and diagnosis, habilitation and rehabilitation, community mental health services, substance abuse treatment, case management, residential supervision, and housing.  The large cuts to the PATH program proposed by the House and the Senate would greatly impact these services. In addition, both the House and Senate are proposing $72 million for SAMHSA homeless programs in FY 2016, which is a $2 million cut to FY 2015 enacted levels.  Also, the Senate is proposing $1.24 billion for the Substance Abuse Block Grant in FY 2016, a $50 million cut to the FY 2015 enacted level.

Join this letter today to help avoid these harmful cuts!