Homeless Advocates: Participate in This Week's Letter Writing Campaign!

From: Julie Klein
Date: Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 11:39 AM
Subject: Homeless Advocates: Participate in This Week's Letter Writing Campaign!

Dear FY 2017 Homelessness Funding Campaign Advocates,

As many you know, earlier this month the President's FY 2017 budget proposal was released – and included significant requests to increase the capacity of existing programs and create new programs that would help us make tremendous progress in ending homelessness. You can learn the details of what was in the budget here. This is the last time the Obama Administration, which has made ending homelessness a priority, will release a budget proposal. Now, it's up to Congress to turn this proposal into a reality, and we have an opportunity for you to help persuade your Members to do so!

Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) recently began circulating a sign-on letter (attached) to her colleagues in the House of Representatives in support of providing $2.664 billion in funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in FY 2017. Similarly, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are circulating a sign-on letter in the Senate in support of providing $2.664 billion for McKinney programs AND $20.854 billion for Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, including new targeted vouchers for homeless families, in FY 2017.

We need to get as many representatives' and senators' signatures as possible on these letters!

Here's What You Can Do:
  1. As part of our Letter Writing Campaign, send a letter to your Members AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and ask them to join the Dear Colleague letters.
·         Click here to see if your representative has already joined the House letter, and here to see if your senators have already joined the Senate letter (these lists will be updated regularly).
o   You can also see if your Members joined similar letters last spring for FY 2016 funding by clicking here for the House and here for the Senate.
·         You can email them a letter by customizing the sample attached House or Senate letter.
·         Attach this letter to a short email asking them to join the appropriate Dear Colleague letter this year.
o   Tell the staff person in the House that representatives can join the letter by the Friday, March 11 deadline by contacting Sean Gard in Rep. Moore's office at sean.gard@mail.house.gov / (202) 225-4572.
o   Tell the staff person in the Senate that senators can join the letter by the Monday, March 14 deadline by contacting Elizabeth Eickelberg in Sen. Merkley's office at Elizabeth_Eickelberg@merkley.senate.gov / (202) 224-3753.
·         If you don't have time to send a letter, no problem! Call your Members' offices to let them know that you would like them to sign on to the appropriate Dear Colleague letter!
o   You can find your Members' numbers by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (or searching here for your Representative or here for your Senators.)
  1. If they say they cannot join the letter, ask if they will submit "programmatic requests" in support of providing $2.664 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento program and $20.854 billion to Section 8 in FY 2017.
3.      Spread the word about the campaign by downloading our sample action alert and sample letters and sharing them with your email contacts. Urge them to send letters to their Members too.
  1. Let us know which offices you contacted and what they said by emailing Jaime Colman or myself!

Joining the sign-on letter provides an easy way for Members of Congress to include funding for HUD's McKinney-Vento and Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs in their list of official funding priorities due to the Appropriations Committee soon. There is a short, critical time window for Members of Congress to demonstrate their commitment to funding these programs before appropriators start writing and voting on spending bills, and we need to make sure Members know that these letters are circulating and how important it is to their constituents that they sign on! If offices are unable/unwilling to join the letter, they can be JUST as helpful by including these funding requests in their official list of priorities.
We have quite a lot of work to do to reach our goal of collectively sending 300 letters to Members of Congress in support of increased McKinney and Section 8 funding. It's critically important that we quickly get letters out to as many Members as possible, to give them time to decide to sign on by the deadlines. If everyone does their part to make this campaign a priority this week, I am confident that we can collectively make the most of the opportunity presented by the Obama Administration's final budget proposal, and have a strong impact on increasing the capacity of local homeless assistance programs to end homelessness.

Please urge your Members to sign on now, and keep us posted as you send letters or make other contacts with offices!

Thank you all,

Julie Klein
Assistant to the President/Policy Outreach Associate
National Alliance to End Homelessness
1518 K Street NW, Second Floor
Washington, DC 20005