This week we got a first look at the Senate's proposed FY2019 budget for federal homelessness programs. This new draft from the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee is great news overall — it makes real investments in ending homelessness through increased spending on McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants and housing choice vouchers.
But it has one glaring flaw: it fails to reauthorize the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and would force it to shut down in 2020.
USICH's budget is only $3.6 million — this modest sum funds the only federal agency with the sole responsibility of ending homelessness. USICH works across 19 federal agencies and departments and with partners in both the public and private sectors. Its vital work reduces bureaucracy, boosts efficiency, and improves the outcomes of federal spending on homelessness. USICH is essential to the effort to end homelessness.