Current Legislation in Need of Your Advocacy

Ask Congress to Support $301 Million Increase to HUD’s McKinney-Vento Programs to End Chronic Homelessness

Last Spring, the President proposed that Congress provide $2.406 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2015 for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants – a 14 percent increase over the final FY 2014 funding level. This increase would fund 37,000 units of permanent supportive housing, which, in combination with the reallocation of existing resources, would allow us to achieve the Administration’s goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Now, it’s up to us to ensure Congress follows through on the recommendation. Please join us in writing letters to Michigan Senators and Representatives to ask them to support a funding level of $2.406 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs. Without an increase in funding, Wayne County organizations may have to make cuts to our CoC and ESG programs in the next NOFA, and would not be able to accelerate progress toward ending chronic homelessness. With the election now behind us, Congress is likely to finalize FY 2015 funding in the coming weeks, so, we need YOUR help to convince them to include a funding level of $2.406 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.

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Help Homeless Children and Youth Now!

The U.S. Department of Health and Urban Development’s (HUD) current definition of homelessness excludes most children and youth who are actually homeless: those staying in motels or temporarily with others because they have nowhere else to go. Over 1.1 million homeless students were identified by public schools last year. HUD’s current policy excludes children and youth, who face real harm, including negative emotional, educational, and health outcomes; it also increases their risk of physical and sexual abuse and trafficking. Click here to find out more about the Homeless Children and Youth Act. Tell your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators that all homeless children and youth need help, no matter where they happen to be staying!

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Significant Asset-Building Policy Nears the Finish Line; Congress Needs to Hear From You!

Early this month, something rare happened—Republican and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously voted to move forward on a meaningful and generous asset-building bill. For people with disabilities and all in the asset-building field, passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act would be a significant victory. The bill would allow people with disabilities to save without fear of losing public benefits. The bill has strong support in both chambers of Congress (379 co-sponsors in the House and 74 in the Senate). There is cautious optimism that it could be one of the last bills signed by the President this year. But, it will not become law until it is passed by both House and Senate chambers. Your representatives in Washington, DC, need to hear from you! Congress returns to Washington in early September and may take up this bill soon after—contact your Representative and Senators and tell them to support the ABLE Act! •Call 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators’ and Representatives’ offices. If you don’t know who your Representative or Senators are, find out here: House, Senate. •Once you’re connected, here’s what to say: ◦My name is [your name]from [your organization or coalition]. I’m calling to ask you to support House Bill H.R.647 / Senate Bill S.313, the ABLE Act of 2013, so that people with disabilities are able to save, expand their economic opportunity and have the chance to gain economic self-sufficiency. Please do it for the people with disabilities in your community who want to save for a more secure future! Please take a few minutes and write a letter, send an e-mail or call your legislators to advocate for the importance of these programs in your community.

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November 1, 2013: SNAP/Food Stamp Benefits Drop

On November 1, 2013 thousands of Michigan families that rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) will see a reduction in their benefits. On November 1st, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) comes to an end. In April 2009, the ARRA raised benefits for the SNAP and Michigan Food Assistance Program (FAP) to assist families affected by the recovery. SNAP and FAP benefits could decrease by $11 or more depending on factors such as income, household size and expenses. The Center for Civil Justice (CCJ) advocates for individuals in Michigan that are in need of help meeting their basic needs. The CCJ has a helpline to assist individuals in determining their food stamp benefits. Please contact them at 1-800-481-4989.

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