We need more money for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance funds - and Congress needs to hear from US to make it happen.
The President's Budget Proposal, included $2.05 Billion for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. It's a step up from last year - and more than we expected - but it's still not enough, we are asking for $2.4 billion. This year, we'll need enough money to implement the HEARTH Act and provide your community with new funding.
Now, with the President's recommendations in mind, Congress is embarking on its own budget and appropriations process, so this is a CRITICAL time for constituents to voice funding concerns. The McKinney Appropriations Campaign (that's us!) must get AS MANY LETTERS AS POSSIBLE to our Senators and Representatives from Feb 1 through Feb 22.
What are we asking for?
We want your Senators and Representatives to ask the leaders of both the Budget and Appropriations committees to fund McKinney at $2.4 billion in FY 2011. This represents a 28 percent increase over last year's level and $345 million more than the President's request.
Is this a large increase? Yes...
...but we're not crazy! The HEARTH Act reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs for the first time in nearly 20 years! A lot has changed in those two decades, and these changes - at least initially - are going to cost money. After this year, there will not be a need for a huge boost in funding to offset the effects of the HEARTH Act.
Timing is everything
Right now, the Budget Committee in the House and Senate will begin writing a budget, which sets spending guidelines for their respective Appropriations Committees. The Appropriations Committees, in turn, are beginning to gather request from their colleagues regarding funding recommendations for specific programs - those requests must be made by mid to late March.
So now is the time to start influencing your Members of Congress. They need to hear from constituents EARLY in this process, so we can be sure that they prioritize funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs.
Sooner is always better and the need is urgent - let's get writing!