|As most are aware of by now, congressional leaders released the details of its final fiscal year 2011 funding bill. The legislation included a total of about $40 billion in cuts compared to FY2010. The following are the funding levels for programs related to affordable housing and homelessness, as provided by the National Alliance to End Homelessness:
- $1.905 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, a $40 million increase over FY 2010;
- $50 million for new HUD – VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program vouchers to house an estimated 7,690 additional homeless veterans;
- No funding for Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration vouchers;
- $116 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs, equal to the FY 2010 level;
- $18.4 billion for Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, enough to fund all existing vouchers; and
- $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a $650 million decrease from FY 2010.
The following is the status of each of the relevant programs related to affordable housing and homelessness, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ recommendations for FY2012 funding:
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
In its fiscal year (FY) 2012 Budget Proposal, the Administration requested $2.372 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. The Administration’s request includes $286 million for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program and $50 million for a new initiative to incentivize Public Housing Authorities and owners of HUD-assisted housing to serve additional homeless households.
The HEARTH Act expands investments in solutions to homelessness. Congress should fund those investments without shifting significant resources from existing homeless assistance programs. A funding level of approximately $2.4 billion in FY 2012 for the Homeless Assistance Grants program would help communities to make substantial progress toward implementing the HEARTH Act and addressing the effects of the recession.
Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration
In its fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request, the Administration included $57 million for this Demonstration for the Housing Choice Voucher component and $12 million for the SAMHSA portion.
Congress should fund this Demonstration by providing $57 million in FY 2012 under the Housing Choice Voucher program and $12 million for SAMHSA mental health and substance use services
SAMHSA Homeless Services
The current FY 2010 funding level of SAMHSA homeless programs is $77 million. This is divided between two accounts: $34 million within the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and $43 within the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). The President’s proposal would increase CMHS by $7.446 million and CSAT by $4.610 million.
Provide $100 million in SAMHSA homeless programs for essential mental health and substance use treatment services. These grants help chronically homeless families and individuals acquire and maintain permanent supportive housing. In addition, SAMHSA also funds other housing programs targeted to homeless and at-risk families, youth, and individuals.
HUD VA-Supportive Housing Vouchers
The Administration’s FY 2012 budget requests $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers in fiscal year (FY) 2012 to provide assistance to an estimated 11,538 additional veterans. Congress has funded approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers in FY 2008 through 2011, helping to make substantial progress on the goal providing about 65,000 HUD-VASH vouchers to finally end chronic veteran homelessness.
Congress should continue to make ending homelessness among veterans a top priority by providing $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers in fiscal year 2012 to house an estimated 11,538 additional veterans.
Housing Choice Vouchers
In its February FY 2012 Budget Proposal, the Administration requested both $57 million for the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration and $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers.
Congress should work to address the shortage of affordable rental housing for low-income households. Congress should renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers in FY 2012 and also provide additional funding for incremental vouchers targeted toward strategies that advance local efforts to end homelessness by targeting those households least likely to escape homelessness without a permanent, deep subsidy coupled with services, including:
- $57 million for 7,500 Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration vouchers; and
- $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program vouchers to serve an estimated 11,538 additional homeless veterans.