Target: House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham
Goal: Provide permanent supportive housing programs for the homeless, and protect chronically homeless individuals from high-cost health care.
About 610,000 people faced homelessness in 2013 alone, according to a recent State of Homelessness in America report. Without access to even basic necessities like food, toiletries or medicine, people often fall ill and seek emergency medical care. Emergency care is much more expensive than the preventative care that is often offered in permanent housing programs when they are fully functional.
While the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) provides funding for agencies throughout the country, many with large homeless populations, it doesn’t do much for individuals who are chronically homeless.
HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program was allocated $2.135 billion in funding. While it was a substantial victory for re-housing and homeless prevention efforts, it did not provide sufficient resources for permanent supportive housing programs. On February 2, 2015 the President released his proposed budget for next year requesting $2.480 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program. The new budget would ensure that permanent housing programs are allocated enough funding to implement long-term care strategies including health care for individuals with chronic or underlying conditions. These strategies include, but aren’t limited to evidence-based practices like motivational interviewing, an approach that helps to target and change behaviors that have been learned over the course of many years.
Sign the petition below and support the push to allocate federal resources to the programs that are actively engaged in improving the overall well-being of the homeless.
Dear Chairman Latham,
Although funding for homeless programs was improved in 2015, the issue of homelessness in America has not been addressed in its entirety. Permanent supportive housing programs are not receiving the level of funding necessary to address the health issues homeless people often suffer from, including mental illness and substance abuse problems.
These programs need proper funding to offer services like personalized treatment plans for the thousands of homeless people suffering from debilitating mental illnesses. These housing programs have the potential to reduce the health care costs incurred from emergency room visits, hospitalizations and dozens of other services that would be avoided if homeless people had access to preventative care. If the proposed budget isn’t approved, homelessness could potentially increase. In order to effectively assist the homeless population of America, an emphasis needs to be placed on targeting the issue of chronic homelessness specifically.
I am urging you to consider the proposed budget while keeping in mind the proven effectiveness of permanent housing programs as opposed to temporary assistance initiatives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: D.C.Atty via Flickr