Washington — As the economic crisis deepens and communities across the U.S. report increases in homelessness, a $410 billion bill introduced today to wrap up 2009 federal spending commitments demonstrates Congress’ commitment to ending homelessness. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act will fund most federal programs, including housing and homeless assistance programs for the fiscal year that ends October 1, 2009. The bill proposes billions in additional funding for homelessness assistance and housing and community development programs, some of which have suffered grave budget cuts over the last few years.
The funding bill, introduced by Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, includes a $91 million increase in Homeless Assistance Grants that would give communities the capacity to provide housing and services for thousands of additional homeless and at-risk families and individuals.
“We are pleased that, in this period of economic and housing turmoil, Congress has provided important new funds to help alleviate homelessness,” said Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “We are also pleased that it has added new funding for affordable housing and supportive services. Combined with recent homelessness prevention funding in the economic recovery bill, these funds will help us avert a new generation of recession-related homelessness.”
The new bill includes an increase of $75 million for 10,000 permanent, supportive housing vouchers for homeless veterans through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. The HUD-VASH program is currently the only federal program solely dedicated to providing permanent housing for homeless veterans.
The bill also includes an approximately $22 million increase to the existing $55 million in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Homeless programs. This funding has been critical for providing mental health and substance use services to homeless families, youth and individuals.
In addition, the bill includes a $1.6 million increase dedicated to helping house and support homeless youth through the Runaway and Homeless Youth program; a $20 million increase to the Health Care for the Homeless program; and an over $6 million increase to the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program to support individuals with serious mental illness and substance abuse problems.
Other programs that would see increased funding include housing for people with disabilities ($13 million increase), the Family Unification Program ($20 million increase), and housing for the elderly ($30 million increase).
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, mission-driven organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. The Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions. Working collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, the Alliance provides data and research that lead to stronger programs and policies that help communities achieve their goal of ending homelessness.
For more information on The National Alliance to End Homelessness, visit: www.endhomelessness.org
Contact: Lauren Wright; 202-942-8246; firstname.lastname@example.org
-The National Alliance to End Homelessness