Advocacy Update: Host Your Members of Congress for Site Visits!

Advocacy Update
Facebook Twitter YouTube RSS

Invite Your Members on Site Visits During the August Recess!
While Members of Congress are currently home in their districts or states for the August recess, now is the perfect time to directly engage them through participating in our August 2015 Site Visit Campaign! Members' schedules quickly fill up during the August recess (which includes the first week of September before they return to DC after Labor Day), so you should engage them through setting up a site visit of your program or an in-district meeting as soon as possible! This is the perfect way to follow up to your congressional meetings if you participated in Capitol Hill Day 2015, and/or to strengthen relationships with your congressional offices.

A timely goal of this campaign is to collectively demonstrate that discretionary spending caps need to be lifted to allow appropriators to robustly fund homeless assistance and affordable housing programs to achieve progress at ending homelessness. The end goals are to ensure that when FY 2016 funding legislation is finalized, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program receives a $345 million increase to $2.480 billion, including $40 million for homeless youth initiatives, and the Housing Choice Voucher program receives sufficient funding to renew existing vouchers and $512 million to restore 67,000 vouchers that were lost due to sequestration.

In order to make a strong case for raising budget caps and secure these increases, we need your help engaging Members to get them to agree to communicate the message to the Chairs and Ranking Members of  the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that providing the following funding levels in the final FY 2016 funding legislation are high priorities:
  • 1) $2.480 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program in FY 2016, including $40 million for homeless youth initiatives
  • 2) Sufficient funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and an additional $512 million to restore the 67,000 vouchers lost to sequestration
Here’s What You Can Do:
Let us know as soon as possible which of the below actions you can commit to doing this August (or the first week of September), and use the below links to materials to help you start taking these actions - NOW is the time to get planning underway!
  1. Host a Member of Congress for a Site Visit this August! Site visits are one of the most effective ways to gain Members' support, and as such this is the most important advocacy action you can take this month.
    • If you plan to host your Member for a site visit, you will need to start planning now! Use this work plan and read this toolkit chapter to assist you with your planning efforts!
    • Let us know if you need any help planning or strategizing!
  2. Schedule meetings with your Members of Congress in their district offices!
    • If your Member does not have time to attend a site visit, or if you are unable to host them, the next best thing you can do is schedule meetings with the Member in their district or state office. Use this checklist and read this toolkit chapter to help you to schedule and prepare for these meetings. 
    • Let us know if you need any help planning or strategizing!
  3. Remember, it is VERY important to communicate the above bold red message during your site visit or meeting!
  4. Let us know how your site visit(s) or meeting(s) went! 
It is particularly important to target Members who sit on the House or Senate Appropriations Committees, and those with other key leadership positions. You can email Julie or Jaime to help you determine who to engage, and don't forget to keep us posted on your efforts! 
More Information:
Since the appropriations process using the current, sequestration level discretionary spending caps has stalled, in part due to Congress’ inability to adequately fund critical programs with such limited resources, it is likely that there will be a budget deal this fall to raise these caps. Members will need to raise overall budget caps in order to make any significant increases to homeless assistance and affordable housing programs. They need to hear that if the caps are raised, additional funding NEEDS to be diverted to these programs to meet the rising need for them and allow communities to continue to make progress in ending homelessness.

There will likely be a continuing resolution (CR), or stopgap funding measure, that will fund the government at current levels past the end of the fiscal year on September 30th again this year until final budget decisions are made. So advocates have a long way to go from now through November or December to secure the $2.480 billion for McKinney, including $40 million for homeless youth initiatives, and sufficient funding to renew existing Housing Choice Vouchers and restore the 67,000 vouchers lost due to sequestration.

Securing these funding levels would be HUGE wins for communities! They would allow us to make progress toward ending homelessness for families, youth, and people with disabilities in order to reach the goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2017 and build resources that will be needed to end family and youth homelessness by 2020. It is therefore key that Members have impactful experiences during their site visits and meetings that inspire them to relay our priorities to their colleagues on the Appropriations Committees early and often over the coming months! So please start planning your site visits and meetings today!
Access the toolkit »