We urge you to act now. One in 45 children are homeless in America each year. Without proper supports, children carry the burden of homelessness for much of their lives. Homeless children experience more hunger, poorer physical and mental health, and fewer educational opportunities than children with permanent homes.
September 14: White House Sequestration Report
The White House released a report on the impact of sequestration. Automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal programs, known as sequestration, will go into effect January 2, 2013, if Congress does not take action. Learn more about sequestration and its impact on federal programs serving families at risk of and experiencing homelessness.
September 13: Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
Today marks 18 years since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first signed into law. Over the past 18 years, VAWA has expanded its protections to those experiencing dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA has saved thousands of lives and brought safety to countless homes. This year, the Senate passed a reauthorization of VAWA that bolsters the original law, prevents domestic violence, and supports survivors. The House of Representatives is the next step during the law's reauthorization process. Take action today and tell Congress to re-authorize VAWA.
August 23: Prevent Cuts to Federal Programs Serving Homeless Families
Many federal programs face impending 8.4 percent cuts through "sequestration." These cuts will greatly harm families at risk of and experiencing homelessness. The National Center on Family Homelessness has released a statement on the impact of sequestration on federal programs serving children and families experiencing homelessness. The statement also features a list of resources to learn more and take action. View the statement.
Take action immediately by signing onto a letter from the Coalition on Human Needs asking Congress to protect low-income and vulnerable people; promote job creation to strengthen the economy; increase revenues from fair sources; and seek responsible savings by targeting wasteful spending in areas that do not serve the public interest. Read and sign onto the letter by September 10.
August 1: New Legislation to Help Homeless Families Access Child Care
U.S. Senators Patty Murray, Al Franken, and John Kerry introduced the Improving Access to Child Care for Homeless Families Act of 2012, new legislation that aims to address the difficulties homeless families face in accessing reliable child care. This legislation will increase access to child care for homeless families and require states to describe how they will meet the needs of homeless families in their state child care plan. The legislation prioritizes access to child care for children who are homeless and creates a pilot program for states interested in increasing child care access and continuity of care for homeless children. Read a summary of the bill.
July 9: House Committee Proposes Cuts to SNAP
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee released a draft of the House Farm Bill, known as the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM). The House Bill cuts an estimated $16 billion from SNAP, significantly more than the $4.5 billion in cuts in the Farm bill that recently passed the Senate. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the bill would eliminate food assistance for 2 to 3 million low-income people, mostly low-income working families with children and seniors. The draft bill will be considered by the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, July 11. Read a summary of this legislation.
June 29: House Approves the Fiscal Year 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill on a vote of 261-163. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. In total, the bill provides $51.6 billion in discretionary spending - a reduction of $3.9 billion below last year's level and $1.9 billion below the President's budget request. List of amendments to the FY 2013 Transportation/Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill adopted by the House. Draft text of legislation.
June 28: Ending Youth Homelessness
The Campaign to End Child Homelessness, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, and our partners have recommended some immediate action steps for federal agencies that respond to known, documented problems experienced by homeless youth. The action steps focus on administrative action and leveraging existing funding to increase access and opportunities for homeless youth. Together, they will improve homeless youth's immediate access to food, housing, health care, education, and opportunities for more positive future. View the action steps and additional recommendations.
June 25: Urge Your Representatives to Fully Fund HUD and USDA Programs
The House of Representatives is expected to consider the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Agriculture) FY13 spending bills this week. These bills are important as they fund many housing and homelessness programs. Both bills currently underfund important programs including McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance programs.
It is critical that you let your Representative know that underfunding HUD and rural rental housing programs will harm constituents in your district and across the country. Ask your Representative to support any amendments to the THUD bill, H.R. 5972, and the Agriculture bill, H.R. 5973, that would increase funding for programs serving at risk and homeless families and to oppose amendments that include policy provisions that would be harmful or cut funding for programs serving homeless families. Take action today!
June 14: Urge Congress to Stop Across-the-Board Cuts
This January, all non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs face indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts of 8.4 percent. Such cuts will devastate many federal programs serving homeless children and families including anti-poverty programs, housing, social services, education and job training, public health, and much more. The National Center on Family Homelessness supports these programs and encourages organizations to sign onto a letter that urges members of Congress to support a "balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs."
Background on Federal Sequester:
The Budget Control Act of 2011 established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and non-defense discretionary programs. The law also directed a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of this bi-partisan "Super Committee" to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a "Sequester" to take effect on January 2, 2013. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and non-defense - in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Act's discretionary caps. There are a few discretionary programs that are exempt from the sequester in the first year, such as Pell grants in the Department of Education. Some mandatory programs (e.g., Medicaid) are also exempt from the sequester.
March 29: Support Funding for Homeless Children and Families
As Congress considers FY 2013 funding, the Campaign to End Child Homelessness at The National Center on Family Homelessness and our partners urge you to contact members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and ask them to protect and support adequate funding for programs serving homeless children and families.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of American families become homeless, including over 1.6 million children. While homelessness takes its toll on adults, its impact on children is particularly traumatizing. Federal investments in childcare, education, nutrition, and domestic violence prevention are critical to ensuring children have a good start in life. These programs help to mitigate some of the negative consequences of homelessness on families can take their best step forward even when they are on precarious footing.
Contact Policymakers Today:
Please contact members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee and ask them to protect investments that help end child and family homelessness.
View two support letters sent to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees from The National Center on Family Homelessness and our partners:
Strengthening Educational Opportunities for Homeless Children and Youth
Protect Funding for Supports for Homeless Children and Families
March 22: Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization legislation (S. 1925) to the Senate floor very soon. VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, effective, and cost saving responses to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA is the centerpiece of the federal government's commitment to combating domestic violence and other violent crimes against women. Please help The National Center on Family Homelessness support this important legislation by calling your Senators and urging them to vote YES on VAWA:
"I urge Senator _____ to support the Violence Against Women Act and vote YES on S.1925 as is. A vote for VAWA is a vote for women and for all who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking."
Visit the Senate website to find your senators and their contact information. For more information on VAWA, including fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates, visit: www.4vawa.org.
February 23: Help Homeless Kids Now! Website Launches
The website, www.HelpHomelessKidsNow.org, sets the record straight on The Homeless Children and Youth Act , HR 32. HR 32 is bi-partisan legislation that would make it easier for homeless children, youth, and families to receive homeless assistance, no matter where they happen to be living. The website includes:
Facts about HR 32 - what is actually does, and why it is urgently need
Direct testimonials from children, youth, and parents
A list of national endorsing organizations
Support statements from local service providers and school district liaisons
A SparkAction alert to let you - and your partners, families, and friends - send a direct message to U.S. Representatives urging their support of HR 32
February 13, 2012: President's Budget Released
President Obama released his FY 2013 budget proposal today, laying out spending and tax priorities for the next fiscal year. The budget proposal reflects the Administration's priorities and sets the stage for the budget and appropriations process moving forward. President Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget, up slightly from his FY 2012 proposal of $3.73 trillion. The budget proposal lays out deficit reductions in the form of some tax increases and the removal of certain corporate tax breaks. Learn how program serving homeless children and families fared.
February 7, 2012: House Subcommittee Votes to Support Homeless Children and Youth
Today, the House Financial Services Committee's Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee passed HR 32, the Homeless Children and Youth Act, by a voice vote. HR 32 is a bi-partisan legislation that amends the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and their families who are verified as homeless by four federal programs. Current HUD regulations preclude many homeless children and youth from qualifying for critical HUD services. If enacted into law, HR 32 would eliminate HUD's regulatory obstacles to homeless children and youth qualifying for essential HUD services and would facilitate referrals of homeless children and youth for their services. HR 32 also would assure that homeless children, youth, and their families are counted as homeless. Learn more about HR 32 and take action today!
December 15, 2011: Expanding the Definition of Homeless
The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity held a hearing on HR 32, The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2011, sponsored by Congresswoman Judy Biggert. The bill would change the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homeless to include children, youth, and their families (if appropriate) if they are verified as homeless by program directors or designees working on other federally funded programs serving homeless children and youth. If this bill were law, determining eligibility for HUD homeless assistance would be much easier than under the complex HEARTH Act regulation recently released. Read the letter The National Center on Family Homelessness wrote in support of HR 32.
November 17, 2011: Bill to Protect Victims of Sexual Violence from Eviction
Senator Al Franken introduced legislation that would protect women who are victims of domestic or sexual violence from being evicted. Senator Franken's "Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Act" improves on the 2005 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA makes it unlawful to deny an individual housing assistance under Sections 6 or 8 just because she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. Senator Franken's bill expands these protections to include victims of sexual assault and extends these protections to nine additional federal housing programs. This bill has been endorsed by nearly two dozen state and national organizations, including The National Center on Family Homelessness.
November 14, 2011: HUD Funding and Regulations
The House Appropriations Committee released the Fiscal Year 2012 funding bill for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The legislation includes funding levels for many affordable housing and homelessness programs, including $1.901 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants (equal to the FY2011 level and including $250 million for the Emergency Solutions Grants Program). View a summary of the legislation. Read the entire bill.
October 14, 2011: Easier Access to Free School Meals for Homeless Children and Youth
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service published an interim rule on April 24 that updates school meals enrollment regulations for homeless, migrant, and runaway children. These updates simplify the enrollment process by extending free meal eligibility to all children in a household that participates in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Federal Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). The interim rule also streamlines the requirements for certifying homeless, runaway, and migrant children, who are categorically eligible for free school meals. View Comments about the interim rule submitted by the Campaign to End Child Homelessness.
August 16, 2011: Congressional "Super Committee" Members Named
Members of the new Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction ("Super Committee") have been named. The Committee, which must complete its work by late November, consists of 12 members: three House members and three Senators appointed by Republicans, and three House members and three Senators appointed by Democrats. The Committee will be chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Committee members will begin talks aimed at producing a deficit-reduction agreement tied to a second increase in the debt ceiling. If the Super Committee reaches an accord on how to move forward, its recommendations will be sent to the House and Senate for ratification on an up-or-down vote. Failure to come to an agreement could trigger automatic across the board spending cuts. The National Center is working to ensure that the Super Committee's deficit reduction proposals don't harm homeless children and families. View the letter from The National Center to the Committee.
August 2, 2011: Debt Deal Signed Into Law
The newly passed Budget Control Act of 2011 authorizes the president to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion in three steps, with nearly $1 trillion of spending cuts over 10 years to be implemented immediately through discretionary spending caps. A bicameral, bipartisan committee of 12 lawmakers will be charged with identifying additional spending cuts worth about $1.5 trillion. The committee must report deficit-reduction recommendations by November 23 and Congress must vote on the package by December 23. Should the committee fail to come to an agreement on a deficit-reduction package, automatic across-the-board spending cuts worth about $1.2 trillion will begin in 2013. Read the bill.
July 12, 2011: Bill Eliminating the National Housing Trust Fund Passes House Subcommittee
The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) has approved legislation (H.R. 2441) to abolish the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) as well as the Capital Magnet Fund. The bill passed by a vote of 18 to 14, along party lines. H.R. 2441 will be considered next by the full committee. The Campaign to End Child Homelessness supports the capitalization of the NHTF because it will provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households. Learn more and support the NHTF.
July 11, 2011: Take Action for Homeless Children and Families!
It's crunch time in D.C. America's leaders say they want to reach a deal this week to raise the debt ceiling and cut the national deficit. Should they cut programs that feed, house, and educate children and families? These decisions are difficult. Help our leaders make the right choices by telling them to make children and families their first priority. Ask our lawmakers to protect homeless and low-income families in the debt ceiling negotiations: Sign the petition. Call Congress.
July 11, 2011: New Bill Would Eliminate the National Housing Trust Fund
Tomorrow, July 12, the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets and the GSEs of the House Financial Services Committee will vote on a bill (H.R. 2441) introduced by Representative Ed Royce (CA) to eliminate the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). When capitalized, NHTF will provide communities with money to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable rental homes for extremely and very low income households. It is important that your representative on the Subcommittee hears support for the NHTF. Take action now!
June 23, 2011: HUD Report Shows Significant Increase in Family Homelessness
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) last week. According to the report, the number of homeless people in families increased by 20 percent from 2007 to 2010, and families currently represent a much larger share of the total sheltered population. The proportion of homeless people using emergency shelter and transitional housing who are part of a family has increased from 30 percent to 35 percent. These increases are consequences of the current economic recession. Download the full report.
June 1, 2011: Child and Family Homelessness - Federal Policy Priorities
The Campaign to End Child Homelessness presented a webinar on Federal Policy Priorities for 2011-2012. During this webinar, speakers laid out priorities on issues related to child and family homelessness, including access to services and support; housing; early childhood and education; and mental health. View webinar slides.
May 12, 2011: Legislation Aims to Reduce Youth Homelessness
Today, Senator John Kerry (MA) introduced legislation to reduce youth homelessness. The National Center on Family Homelessness has endorsed The Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act, which would improve training, educational opportunities, and permanency planning for older foster youth. It also strengthens programs to reduce poverty and keep families together. The Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act allows children nationwide to remain in foster care until at least their 21st birthday; extends the timeframe foster youth have to utilize the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; and makes significant improvements to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, such as enhancing efforts to connect families with education, training, and housing resources. Read the press release. View a Section by Section Overview of the bill.
May 3, 2011: New Release! Campaign to End Child Homelessness Federal Policy Agenda
The Campaign to End Child Homelessness, an initiative of The National Center on Family Homelessness, released a Federal Policy Agenda for the 112th Congress and Administration. The Agenda and its policy recommendations are essential to meeting the needs of America's homeless children and their families in 2011 and beyond.
Across the United States, more families than ever are feeling the strain o f the current economic recession and are trying to stretch their limited resources to cover basic necessities. Child and family homelessness is on the rise in all parts of the country. The Federal Policy Agenda calls for coordinated and strategic efforts by national, state, and local political leaders, service providers, advocates, and the business and philanthropic communities. A stable, fully-funded, high quality, and efficient support system of housing and services is necessary to make this happen.
The implementation of the Campaign's policy recommendations would go far in putting the federal government on track to accomplish its goal of ending family homelessness in ten years as stated in Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. As a country, we can no longer ignore the fact that 1.5 million children go without homes, food, access to health care, and educational opportunities each year. The cost is too great to our children and families, our communities, and the country as a whole. View the Federal Policy Agenda. View a summary of the Campaign's National Policy Survey results.
Save the date!
To learn more about Child and Family Homelessness Policy Priorities in the 112th Congress, join us for a federal policy webinar on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, from 2-3 PM EDT. More information to follow. For questions or comments about the Federal Policy Agenda, email Natalie Thompson, Policy Director for the Campaign to End Child Homelessness, at Natalie.Thompson@familyhomelessness.org.
March 30, 2011: Homeless Children and Youth Education Bill Strengthens the McKinney-Vento Act
On March 30, the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness hosted a briefing on family homelessness: "A Growing Epidemic: Homeless Children, Youth and Families." The briefing was held in collaboration with a coalition of organizations including The National Center. Highlights included a bill, the "Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2011." This bill amends the McKinney-Vento Act's education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It promotes school stability; improves access to transportation; increases school districts' ability to identify and serve homeless children; and increases access to early childhood education, summer school, before and after-school programs, and other educational opportunities. Learn more from NAEHCY.
March 24, 2011: Speak Out! Contribute to Our National Policy Agenda
The Campaign to End Child Homelessness is developing a National Policy Agenda for 2011-2012, and we want your input! Our Policy Agenda will focus on federal programs and policies to prevent and end child and family homelessness. Complete our short survey today!
February 17, 2011: President Obama Releases FY 2012 Budget Proposal
On Monday, February 14, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget. The President's new budget puts forward a plan to achieve $1.1 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, mainly by cutting funding for social programs. The decreases are targeted to "non-defense discretionary spending," which makes up less than one-quarter of the overall budget, through a five-year freeze on spending in many domestic government agencies. However, the Budget does make investments in White House priorities like education and research.
While the overall budget picture is grim, we applaud the President for increasing funding for many programs that support homeless children and families. The Budget provides more than $2.5 billion to continue progress toward the Administration's goal to end chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans and families. It increases investments in mental health and substance abuse prevention efforts, including targeted funds for young people, military members and their families, and the homeless.
Remember, this is just the starting point for many months of debate over funding for Fiscal Year 2010. The President's budget is important as it sets the standard for the House and Senate Budget Committees as they develop their own FY2012 budget proposals. The National Center will continue to work to ensure adequate funding for federal programs that support children and families who are homeless.
February 17, 2011: Action Alert - Protect Federal Funding for Homeless Children and Families
The National Center on Family Homelessness and Horizons for Homeless Children, along with nearly 30 national organizations from across the country, have sent letters to leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. The letters support adequate funding for the early education, child care, health, education, nutrition, and domestic violence prevention programs that ensure homeless children and families have access to the critical supports and services they need. Take Action Now by asking members of Congress to protect programs that support homeless children and families.
February 16, 2011: Adequate Funding Needed to Support Homeless Children and Families
The National Center on Family Homelessness and Horizons for Homeless Children, along with about 30 other organizations, recently sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee members. The letter supports adequate funding for programs in FY2011 and FY2012 that support homeless children and families that focus on early education, child care, health, nutrition, and domestic violence prevention. Read the letter.
February 9, 2011: Increase Funding for McKinney-Vento
The National Center on Family Homelessness and Horizons for Homeless Children, along with about 30 other organizations, recently sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee members about the need to increase funding for the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program with provides critical services and support to students who are homeless. Read the letter.
September 23, 2010: Urge Congress to Extend the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund
The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) will expire on Thursday, September 30! ECF dollars have helped states provide cash assistance to low-income families, short-term rent assistance to families experiencing a housing crisis, and 250,000 employment opportunities nationally, many of which will end on September 30 if Congress fails to act. U.S. Senator John Kerry (MA) is rallying his colleagues to urge Senate leaders to extend ECF. However, we need to do more to encourage Senate action right away. Call your U.S. Senators and ask to speak to the staff member who works on welfare issues (phone numbers for Senators can be found by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121). Ask the staff members to urge their Senators to ask Senate leaders to support the immediate extension of ECF.
June 10, 2010: Support the National Housing Trust Fund
Join The National Center on Family Homelessness and the Campaign to End Child Homelessness in supporting the funding of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The National Housing Trust Fund was established as a provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The passage of NHTF legislation was a major victory for the lowest income people in our country with the most serious needs, including children, families and individuals who are homeless. The NHTF will, once capitalized, provide communities with funds to build, preserve and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low-income households. Learn more about the NHTF and participate in activities to support.