Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AJC Op Ed: Cutting Investments in Children Will Do More Harm Than Good"

Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published an Opinion Editorial by VOICES FOR GEORGIA's CHILDREN Executive Director Pat Willis under the title, "Cutting investments in children will do more harm than good"

We urge you to share this link with your personal networks and encourage them to do the same.

If you want to write a comment to the AJC in support of today's Opinion Editorial, send it to As always, we at VOICES are eager to get your feedback on this OpEd in today's AJC or any issue related to children. Send your comments to

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Alliance Hosts Virtual Discussion on HPRP Implementation

Alliance Hosts Virtual Discussion on HPRP Implementation
Editor: Amanda Krusemark (

Spotlight On...

On Thursday, November 12, the Alliance will host a Virtual Discussion on implementing the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). Starting at 10 am ET, staff from the Alliance, as well as some of our national partners, will be available throughout the day to respond to your HPRP questions. The Virtual Discussion will be held on Community ShareNet, the Alliance online community.

To participate in the discussion, simply register (
for Community ShareNet. You will receive email confirmation of your
registration, along with a link to the Community ShareNet site. On the day of the Virtual Discussion, log in to Community ShareNet using the email and password you created when registering. Click on the "Discussion" tab at the top of the page, and look for the "HPRP Implementation"
discussion thread in the middle of the page.
You can post a question you have or challenge you are facing, and Alliance staff and our partners will respond. Participants should also feel free to check the website periodically to follow the discussion.

Register for Community ShareNet

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2010 T-HUD Bill

From NAEH.....

Last Thursday, July 30, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed fiscal year
(FY) 2010 spending legislation for Transportation, Housing, and Urban
Development (T-HUD). The full House passed its legislation in July. Full details of the Senate legislation are not yet available, but the legislation does include:

* $1.875 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, nearly $200 million more than in FY 2009. The House bill included $1.85 billion.

* $18.1 billion for tenant-based rental assistance, including $16.3 billion for
renewing current vouchers, $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers, and $20 million for new Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers. Overall, this represents an increase of $1.2 billion over FY 2009. The House bill included $18.2 billion total.

* $8.1 billion for project-based rental assistance, $1 billion more than in FY 2009.
The House version included $8.7 billion.

* $785 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, $20 million above FY 2009. The House bill provided $1 billion.

* $265 million for Section 811 Housing for People with a Disability, $15 million more than in FY 2009. The House version included $350 million.

* $320 million for Housing Opportunities for Person with AIDS (HOPWA), $10 million above the FY 2009 level. The House bill included $350 million.

The legislation also included $3.99 billion for the Community Development Block Grant
(CDBG) program, $1.825 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership program, and $250 million for the new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which would serve as a successor to the HOPE VI program. The full Senate is expected to consider the legislation in September.

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2010 Labor-HHS-Education Bill

On July 30, the Senate Appropriations Committee also approved the FY 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) spending bill. Full details of the bill are not yet available. However, the legislation does include $7.2 billion for Head Start programs, $122 million more than in FY 2009. The full Senate is expected to consider the legislation in September.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No change in the level of homelessness from 2007 to 2008

HUD Releases 2008 Homelessness Data
From: NAEH Editor: Amanda Krusemark (

Last Thursday, July 9, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, which reveals virtually no change from 2007 to 2008 in the level of overall homelessness.

The report, the fourth of its kind, includes point-in-time count data from January 2008 and twelve months of shelter use data that comes from Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) in over 200 communities. This is the first release of national homelessness data that was collected since unemployment began increasing up in the Spring 2007 and since the recession began in Fall 2007. The result appears to suggest that the economy is having an impact of homelessness, as the "no change" result reflects an abrupt halt to the decreases in family, chronic, and overall homeless measured from 2005 to 2007. The full report can be downloaded from the HUD website.

Note that homelessness is actually UP in Adults in Families and Children in Families, even though the overall change was insignificant.

You can also view the Alliance's press release and blog post for more information about the findings and the Alliance's response. A presentation on these results by the authors of the report will occur during the "New Data on Homelessness" workshop at the Alliance's National Conference of Ending Homelessness later this month. Download the Report

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Homeless in the Suburbs

Read this terrific article in Parenting Magazine. The piece highlights the poignant stories of 3 families caught in a crisis.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

CBS News - A day in the life of a precious, homeless child

Watch this compelling video from CBS News about the day in the life of two homeless children. With just 5 minutes, you can begin to understand how tough this situation is. Please consider donating to the Atlanta Children's Shelter so we can stop this crisis in our own backyard.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NHLP Releases New Foreclosure Protection Resources for Renters

Editor: Amanda Krusemark (

Last Thursday, May 28, the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) published a series of resources about the new federal protections for tenants living in foreclosed properties. S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, was signed into law by President Obama on May 20 and requires that tenants in foreclosed properties be given 90 days' notice prior to eviction. The resources include a Cover Memo, which succinctly and clearly explains the new protections and explains that the resources have been developed in order to assist with quickly implementing the protections. NHLP has also developed a Sample Notice to All Tenants. This sample notice is designed to be handed out by Landlord Tenant Courts, Public Housing Authorities, local legal service offices, or other housing advocates. Other documents created by NHLP

* Sample letter from a Section 8 tenant to a landlord;
* Sample letter from a non-Section 8 tenant to a landlord;
* Sample notice for Section 8 voucher holders that a PHA could send;
* Sample letter to send to public housing and Section 8 HCV administrators;
* Sample letter to send to judges who handle landlord tenant cases; and
* Legislative text on renter protections.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has posted all of NHLP's documents on its website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alliance Applauds Congress and President Obama for Enacting the HEARTH Act

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Alliance Applauds Congress and President Obama for Enacting the HEARTH Act
Bipartisan bill emphasizes homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing, and program modernization

Washington, D.C. - Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, commended the nation's leadership today for passing the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. The bill, which was included as part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, reauthorizes the Department of Housing and Urban Development's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs, which represent the largest federal investment in preventing and ending homelessness.

"Today, we seize a rare opportunity to truly transform the way we help those most in need of our assistance," said Roman. "In these challenging times, we all sympathize with those facing tougher and tougher decisions about how to protect themselves and their families. We thank President Obama and Congress for seizing this opportunity to build upon the hard work and experience of the HUD homeless programs and restore our promise to prevent and end homelessness for all."

The HEARTH Act is the first significant reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs in nearly 20 years and allocates millions more to homelessness prevention, rapidly re-housing homeless families, and providing permanent supportive housing for homeless people with disabilities. It also modernizes and streamlines housing and services to more efficiently meet the needs of people seeking assistance.

Roman applauded the efforts of both congressional and coalition partners, specifically thanking Sens. Jack Reed (D - RI) and Kit Bond (R - MO), as well as Reps. Maxine Waters (D - CA) and Barney Frank (D -MA) for their courageous leadership and persistence on the issue. Roman also thanked President Obama for exemplifying the political will to apply proven solutions to prevent and end homelessness for all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Homelessness Counts Media Map

Click here to see the interactive map

Permanent Supportive Housing Studies


There have been several recent studies published that document the cost savings and effectiveness associated with permanent supportive housing interventions for chronically homeless individuals.

Recent Cost Offset Studies
The April 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included the article, "Health Care and Public Service Use and Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with Severe Alcohol Problems," which reports on the results of a Housing First initiative in Seattle, WA known as "1811 Eastlake". This study compared 95 Housing First participants, with 39 wait-list control members and found cost reductions of over 50 percent for the Housing First group. While it is not the first published evidence of the service use reductions and cost savings that permanent supportive housing interventions can provide, it is worth highlighting because the level of the cost savings - almost $30,000 per person per year after accounting for housing program costs - are greater than some seminal studies that have shown more modest cost offsets through permanent supportive housing. The study is also noteworthy as one of several recent cost offset studies that have been released already this year. For example, a study of permanent supportive housing in Illinois showed a 39 percent decrease in the total cost of service provision, and a study involving 12 homeless service providers across Massachusetts found a 67 percent decrease in Medicaid costs for Housing First participants.

Outcomes of Permanent Supportive Housing
There is also recent research that directly addresses the well-being of permanent supportive housing residents. The April 2009 issue of the Journal of Community Psychology included an article entitled, "Housing Stability among Homeless Individuals with Severe Mental Illness Participating in Housing First Programs." The authors of this article reviewed the outcomes of participants in three different Housing First programs in New York City, San Diego, CA and Seattle, WA and found that 84 percent of participants remained stably housed after 12 months. The authors also evaluated level of impairment related to psychiatric symptoms and substance abuse at baseline and 12 months and found no significant improvement in substance abuse or mental health impairment with permanent supportive housing.

Full citations of all of the above-referenced reports/articles.

Pearson, C, Montgomery, A.E., and Locke, G. "Housing Stability among Homeless Individuals with Serious Mental Illness Participating in Housing First Programs," Journal of Community Psychology 37, no. 3 (2009) 404-417.

Larimer, M.E., Malone, D.K., Gardner, M.; et al. "Health Care and Public Service Use and Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with Severe Alcohol Problems," Journal of the American Medical Association 301, no. 13 (2009) 1349-1357.

The Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty. 2009. Supportive Housing in Illinois: A Wise Investment.

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance. 2009. Home and Healthy for Good: A Statewide Housing First Program. Progress Report March 2009.

National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2009. Out of Reach 2007-2008: Persistent Problems, New Challenges for Renters.

Technical Assistance Collaborative. 2009. Priced Out in 2008.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

HEARTH Act Passed the Senate!

Today, the full Senate unanimously approved the Reed/Bond amendment to attach the HEARTH Act to S. 896. The Senate also approved S. 896, which means the HEARTH Act is closer to being finalized.

We are VERY grateful for the tireless work of our national, state, and local partners, along with several key Congressional staff who helped push this through the Senate.
**Please join us in thanking Senators and their staff for supporting the HEARTH Act and urging them to take the appropriate steps to ensure that it remains in the final bill.
Next Steps
S. 896 will now proceed to the conference stage in the coming weeks. Because the HEARTH Act amendment achieved such wide support in the Senate, we are hopeful that the conference committee will decide to include the HEARTH Act in the final bill. Then full House and Senate must approve the final version of S.896 and send it to the President for his signature before it becomes law. We will continue to update you at key points in the process.

See the Alliance's Online News Alert for additional key provisions included in S. 896Source:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

McKinney-Vento Reauthorization Introduced in House and Senate

Last Thursday, April 2, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate. The legislation would reauthorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. The Senate bill, S. 808, was introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Kit Bond (R-MO), and 11 other Senators. The House bill, H.R. 1877, was introduced by Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and 5 other House Members. The House and Senate bills are nearly identical to a version that passed the House last year, H.R. 7221. The legislation:

Allows up to 20 percent of funds to be used to prevent homelessness or rapidly re-house people who become homeless through the new "Emergency Solutions Grants" (formerly Emergency Shelter Grants);
Consolidates the Supportive Housing Program, Shelter Plus Care, and the Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy Program into a single Continuum of Care program;
Increases the emphasis on performance by measuring applicants' progress at reducing homelessness and providing incentives for proven solutions;
Requires that HUD provide incentives for rapid re-housing programs for homeless families;
Continues HUD's existing initiative to house people who experience chronic homelessness and adds families with children to the initiative;
Designates 30 percent of total funds for new permanent housing for families and individuals with a disability;
Simplifies the requirement for matching funds;
Modestly expands the definition of homelessness;
Allows grantees to use up to an additional 10 percent of competitive funds to serve families defined as homeless under the Department of Education (but not HUD);
Creates the Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program, which would grant rural communities greater flexibility in utilizing Homeless Assistance Grants and allow them to use more funding for capacity building; and
Authorizes $2.2 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2010, and such sums as necessary for FY2011.

Friday, April 3, 2009

ACTION REQUESTED: McKinney Reauthorization Bill Introduced

Call on Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor

Last night, both the House and Senate introduced legislation to reauthorize HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program. The bill would substantially improve communities' ability to re-house homeless families, people with disabilities, and people with a housing crisis.

S. 808, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, was introduced by Senators Reed (D-RI) and Bond (R-MO) and 11 original co-sponsors. The House version, H.R. 1877, was introduced by Representatives Moore (D-WI) and Biggert (R-IL) and 5 co-sponsors. This year's version of the HEARTH Act is almost identical to the version that passed the full House and gained considerable bipartisan support in the Senate in the 110th Congress.

The Alliance stongly supports the HEARTH Act (S. 808 /H.R. 1877), and we encourage you to join us in calling on Senators and Representatives to become co-sponsors.


Craft your argument. Below are additional materials and talking points. Click here to find out if your Member of Congress has sponsored previous versions of this legislation.
Write, email, and call your Members of Congress and their DC housing staff person. Letters to Members should be faxed. Congressional office phone numbers can be found by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Staff emails typically use the following formula: or (X= Senator's last name).
Ask Senators to co-sponsor S. 808: To do so, staff can contact Kara Stein with Senator Reed's office ( / 202-224-4705).
Ask Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1877: To do so, staff can contact Andrew Stevens with Representative Moore's office ( / 202-225-4572).

Please contact Sarah Kahn with questions and responses from staff ( / 202-942-8259)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Voices For Ga's Children Launching Coalition to Support 0-5 Priorities

The leadership team of the newly instituted Georgia Birth to Five Coalition (GB5) has set a preliminary agenda around budget, legislation and advocacy priorities supporting the state's youngest children, intending to push the group from incubation stages to a fully engaged alliance.

Voices began pulling the coalition together nearly a year ago as a vehicle for building consensus among the state's advocates, policymakers and legislators around commitments to bolster support for children in the critical 0 - 5 age group, as outlined in its Compounding Interest report from 2008. The angenda drafted by the leadership team is intended to target specific policy objectives with which a variety of organizations can find commonality.

On matters of budget, GB5 calls for supporting Gov. Perdue's FY 2009 and FY 2010 budget proposals for Child and Parent Services (CAPS) child care subsidies as the minimal amount pending determination of additional fund distributions from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (estimated at $82.8 million ).

Read more here

Take 3 minutes to help

Homeless families need your help and the help of your family and friends. Less than 3 minutes of your time is needed to help the less fortunate families that we serve.

Congress is considering a fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, which includes significant investments in programs that prevent and end homelessness. On February 25, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill. The Senate will vote on a bill this week. It will be more difficult to pass the bill in the Senate due to procedural differences which allow for more amendments. It is expected that some Senators will offer amendments to cut spending. We want to make sure the proposed increases remain in the bill and that it passes quickly.

Here's the part where you can make a difference.
"Cut" the email below.
Go to and enter your zip code.
Then, click on write to your federal elected officials.
Keep the President and your Senators checked.
Title your email: Omnibus appropriations to support homeless families.
Select HOUSING as the issue area.
Paste the email.
Fill in your contact information.
Hit send.


As a voter who cares about homeless families, I ask you to support the FY2009 omnibus appropriations bill this week. Be sure to protect the monies set aside for housing and homeless assistance programs including :

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants: $1.7 billion;
Section 8 Tenant Based Vouchers: $16.8 billion, to continue providing 1.9 million vouchers and to provide 14,000 new, targeted vouchers for the disabled and homeless veterans during the housing crisis;
Section 8 Project Based Vouchers: $7.1 billion;
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers (HUD-VASH): $75 million for 10,000 housing vouchers for homeless veterans;
Family Unification Program (FUP): $20 million for incremental rental voucher assistance;
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): $310 million;
SAMHSA Competitive Homeless Services programs: $75 million total;
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY): $105 million;
Health Care for the Homeless: $190 million;
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH): $59.7 million;
Second Chance Act: $25 million, $15 million of which is for state and local demonstration grants and $10 million of which is for nonprofit grants;
Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act: $10 million;
HOME Investment Partnership: $1.8 billion;
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: $26.3 million; and
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): $3.9 billion.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News Alert: HUD Announces Stimulus Allocations

(source: NAEH)

Today, February 25, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the figures for each state's allocation of the funds from the economic recovery act. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $1.5 billion for a Homelessness Prevention Fund for prevention and re-housing activities. Click here to view your community's allocation of these funds.

Visit the Alliance's Prevention and Re-Housing Resources Website for more information on how to best utilize these prevention and re-housing funds.

HUD has put together a Recovery Website with information on the HUD programs that received funding in the economic recovery act. The department has also announced state allocations for several other programs, including the Public Housing Capital Fund, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and Project Based Rental Assistance program.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hill Update: Congress to Consider FY2009 Appropriations Bill

Congress is set to begin consideration of a fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus spending bill to complete the FY2009 appropriations process. The text of this bill was released yesterday, and the bill is likely to pass Congress without amendment. The bill includes the following funding provisions:

- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants: $1.7 billion, $91 million above 2008, for grants to local communities to provide housing and services for the homeless;
- Section 8 Tenant Based Vouchers: $16.8 billion, $341 million above 2008, to continue providing 1.9 million vouchers and to provide 14,000 new, targeted vouchers for the disabled and homeless veterans during the housing crisis;
- Section 8 Project Based Vouchers: $7.1 billion, $668 million above 2008, to provide affordable housing to 1.3 million low-income families and individuals;
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers (HUD-VASH): $75 million for 10,000 housing vouchers for homeless veterans;
- Family Unification Program (FUP): $20 million for incremental rental voucher assistance;
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): $310 million, a $10 million increase from 2008;
- SAMHSA Competitive Homeless Services programs: $75 million total, a $22 million increase above 2008, to provide mental health and substance use services to homeless families, youth, and individuals. Much of this increase is focused for permanent supportive housing. Also included is report language directing SAMHSA to fund the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Initiative, which helps eligible homeless individuals access SSI payments more efficiently;
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY): $105 million, a $1.6 million increase above 2008;
Health Care for the Homeless: $190 million, a $20 million increase above 2008;
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH): $59.7 million, a $6.4 million increase above 2008;
- Second Chance Act: $25 million, $15 million of which is for state and local demonstration grants and $10 million of which is for nonprofit grants;
- Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act: $10 million, a $3.5 million increase over the 2008 appropriation; HOME Investment Partnership: $1.8 billion, an increase of $121 million from 2008;
- Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: $26.3 million, a $2.7 million increase over 2008; and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): $3.9 billion, $34 million above 2008, to fund community and economic development projects in 1,180 localities.

The House may vote on the measure as soon as Wednesday, and the Senate is likely to vote on the bill by the end of this week or early next week. Lawmakers will then begin to shift attention to FY2010 appropriations, as President Obama is planning to release an outline of his proposed FY2010 budget on Thursday, February 26.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

$1.5 Billion Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing Funding Signed into Law

From NAEH...

Today, President Obama will sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, providing nearly $800 billion to stimulate the economy. The legislation includes $1.5 billion for a homelessness prevention fund that will provide assistance to homeless or at-risk individuals and families. The text of the legislative language regarding homelessness prevention can be found here.

Eligible activities are:

short- or medium-term rental assistance,
housing relocation and stabilization services,
housing search assistance,
mediation or outreach to property owners,
credit repair,
security or utility deposits,
utility payments,
rental assistance for a final month at a location,
moving costs assistance,
case management, and
other appropriate activities for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing of persons who have become homeless.

Grantees must use HMIS or a comparable database. Up to five percent can be used for administrative costs, and funding will be distributed to jurisdictions using the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) formula. Grantees will have to spend 60 percent of the funds within 2 years of obligation from HUD and 100 percent within 3 years. HUD may reallocate funds from a grantees that do not meet the 2-year requirement to those that do. HUD has 30 days to issue guidelines about the use of funds.

For more information and materials to assist with implementation, please visit the Alliance's Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing Web Page.

Friday, February 13, 2009

News Alert: Congress Passes Economic Recovery Act

Today, February 13, Congress passed HR 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This legislation totals $787 billion and is designed to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and help strengthen the safety net for Americans, including homeless Americans. The final version of bill contains a number of measures regarding housing and poverty, including:

$1.5 billion for short-term rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services for families who may become homeless due to the economic crisis. Funds will be distributed to states, cities, and local governments through the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) formula;
$70 million for the Education for Homeless Youth and Children Program;
$100 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter program;
$4 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, to assist public housing authorities in rehabilitating and retrofitting public housing units, including increasing the energy efficiency of units and making critical safety repairs;
$2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to assist states, local governments, and nonprofits in the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed, vacant properties in order to create more affordable housing and reduce neighborhood blight;
$250 million to support a program to upgrade HUD sponsored low-income housing to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and furnaces;
$500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children, and Infants (WIC);
$19.9 billion for additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food Stamps, to increase benefit levels by 13.6 percent;
$50 million under the Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs for transitional housing assistance grants;
$1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG);
$1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG);
$2 billion for full-year payments to landlords participating in the Section 8 Project-Based program;
$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program;
$200 million to support direct and guaranteed single family housing loans under the Rural Housing Insurance Fund;
$510 million for Native American Housing Block Grants;
Increase in unemployment benefits for 20 million workers by $25 per week and a continuation of the extended unemployment benefits program (which provides up to 33 weeks of extended benefits) through December 2009;
Creation of a capped, temporary Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) Contingency Fund through FY 2010 to provide states with relief during this recession;
One-time payments of $250 to Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and veterans receiving disability compensation and pension benefits from the VA;
Temporary increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families with three or more children; and
Extension of the moratorium on all 7 Medicaid regulations.

In the coming days, the Alliance will provide additional information on the implications of these funding measures.

The House passed the bill this afternoon, and the Senate passed it with 60 votes this evening. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law by Monday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

See the faces and stories of homelessness

Click HERE to view a video that will give you insights in to some of the individual faces and stories of homelessness.

Check out our Facebook page and receive email updates

Go to Facebook to meet with other people who also support the Atlanta Children's Shelter. Become a fan and receive updates about upcoming matters where you can make a difference in the lives of homeless families.

Check it out by clicking HERE

Thanks for learning more about ACS Advocacy

Check back here for updates on current proposed legislation and ways that you can help.

We need your help in supporting legislation and funding to:

· Provide affordable housing including Section 8, rent control, Habitat For Humanity, and support tenant/relationship policies.
· Protect abused and battered women and families.
· Encourage a fair and living wage.
· Support affordable health care services, such as SCHIP, for low income families.
. Support free or low cost early child-care for homeless and low income families.
· Support education needs for the poor to help ensure a smoother transition for homeless children to transition in to elementary schools.
· Encourage public support for transportation subsidies for low income families

For more information, go to

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NAEH: $1.5B for Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing

Spotlight On...
Senate Advances $1.5 Billion for Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an economic recovery package that included $1.5 billion for homelessness prevention and re- housing. The measure will be considered by the full Senate beginning this week. It is likely that this program will be passed into law, and HUD plans to implement it very quickly.

The $1.5 billion in funding is almost identical to a proposal in the economic recovery bill passed by the House of Representatives last month. Funding would be provided through the same formula as HUD's Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program, but could only be used for the following eligible activities:

short-term or medium-term rental assistance;
housing relocation and stabilization services;
housing search;
mediation or outreach to property owners;
credit repair;
security or utility deposits;
utility payments;
rental assistance for a final month at a location;
moving cost assistance; and
other appropriate homelessness prevention activities.

In the Senate proposal, funds could be used to serve people who are at risk of homelessness or who are newly homeless because they are renting a unit that is in foreclosure or because of the recession. Recipients of funding would be required to use a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) or comparable data system.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness - Feb Newsletter

The Connection
a publication of the Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness, Inc.
...keeping you up-to-date on local, state and national homeless issues

From The Desk Of The Executive Director Katheryn Preston

The economic crisis gripping our nation is creating severe financial strain throughout Georgia. As unemployment rises so does the foreclosure rate. More and more families and individuals are losing the places they call home. Georgia's homeless service providers report significant increases in requests for emergency housing. The once accessible resources available to meet the needs are declining as a result of state and local budget cuts. The impact of the economy on foundations, corporations and individuals is equally devastating. While predictions in this rapidly changing environment are perilous, all indications are that things will likely get worse before they get better. Homeless service providers are serving record numbers of people. Philip Mangano, the Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, recently estimated that we are likely to experience a 20% increase in homelessness in 2009 due to the economy. According to the most recent Point-in-Time Studies, more than 75,000 individuals experienced homelessness in Georgia last year. More than 60% of homeless persons were in households with children and most were homeless for the first time. Homelessness is not just a metro problem. Across Georgia, homeless families and individuals are seen in all 159 counties and Georgia stands at a critical crossroads. The safety net in our state, and our nation, is seriously frayed and stretching to the breaking point. We only have a fraction of the resources needed to meet the growing needs of homeless and at risk families and individuals in our state. Our most vulnerable citizens live just a paycheck or a crisis away from homelessness. Despite a drop in home prices, it is still impossible for many Georgians to qualify for this housing. There is no county in Georgia where someone working full-time at the minimum wage can afford an average one bedroom apartment. Home foreclosures have an impact on both homeowners and renters. Approximately 40% of households losing their homes to foreclosures are renters and include persons with Section 8 vouchers. The majority are low income families who lack access to resources for first and last months rent and the security deposit. These families are quickly becoming Georgia's new homeless. Loss of work and rising unemployment are directly impacting homelessness. Georgia's unemployment rate is at a staggering 26 year high at 8.1% and economists recently predicted unemployment could top 9% by 2010. Homeless individuals report that labor jobs are scarcer than ever and strong competition for entry-level jobs put persons in a state of homelessness at a severe disadvantage. As the need for shelter and housing increases, homeless service providers are facing significant budget cuts and loss of revenues. Foundations have less to give, tax credit investors are scaling back their investments in affordable housing, as their profits fall and bank financing for housing development is frozen. Individual giving is declining as donors worry about their own financial health. There is great hope that the Federal government will increase its efforts to address the needs of homeless families and individuals through stimulus programs in the coming year. However, unless the stimulus is targeted to include expanding housing and services for the lowest income families and individuals, it may be too little too late to have a positive impact on homelessness. As the Georgia State Legislature convened. Governor Purdue and some of our legislative leaders are asking for additional budget cuts for FY2009 and FY2010. These cuts will likely impact the health and human service needs of homeless families. We understand that the state's budget is strained as tax revenues fall. However, it is critical that the state also does its share to address the needs of those most in need - homeless and poverty level families and individuals. The Governor has cut 6% of the service programs funded through the Department of Human Services and is warning of another 10% cut for FY2010. These cuts will result in a direct loss of critical services for our most vulnerable citizens. Studies have documented savings of up to $40,000 per person with every investment in supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals. Thus, the proposed funding cuts will most assuredly end up causing millions in increased costs for hospitalizations, detox, emergency room visits, and jails.

Therefore, we issue the following call to action to the community and to our elected officials:

1. To the Community - We ask that you continue to support, or donate to local and statewide homeless service agencies, so we can all meet the rapid increases in need resulting from this crisis.

2. To the Governor and State Legislature - Do not cut essential health, mental health and substance abuse treatment programs for the indigent. Georgia's citizens with mental illness cannot afford further cuts to this inadequately funded system without sending thousands more into a state of homelessness. We recognize that due to falling revenue, significant state budget cuts will be necessary. We say to the Governor and Legislature: Don't balance the state budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, the homeless and at risk families and individuals. We need assurance that those persons impacted by cuts in human service programs do not suffer, we propose that the state create an emergency services safety net to cushion the impact of the cuts.

3. To our Federal Leaders - We ask that any new stimulus legislation include funding that repairs the safety net and creates new supportive housing to meet the growing needs of homeless families and individuals across our nation
4. Finally, to our Neighbors - Now is the time to do whatever you can to help your neighbors who are struggling in this economy to ensure that they do not become tomorrow's homeless.

In closing, after all these years, we know what is needed to end homelessness - community involvement and participation in developing supportive housing, increased jobs, and access to needed health and mental health services. We need investments in programs that work and the political will to make it happen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Nurses in Schools

You are probably already aware that due to the state's budget challenges, Governor Sonny Perdue has proposed to eliminate the state funding for all school nurse programs. This news is obviously very disheartening.

This means the funding that school districts have received from the state since 2000 to implement school nurse programs and hire licensed professional nurses to care for Georgia's students would be totally eliminated, not just reduced. For many school districts like Fulton County, this literally means that all School Nurses would potentially be eliminated.

School Districts use the state funding to provide and supplement their budget allocations to implement school health services and programs. In light of the current economic climate, it is quite obvious that most school districts would find this extremely challenging should the funding be eliminated. School districts are not in a financial position to solely and fully fund these programs and services; thus significant reductions or elimination of the services and programs would be inevitable.

So, what does this really mean and what are the consequences? Unfortunately, the consequences would be tragic and all children in Georgia public schools would suffer. Why? Because of the following reasons:
It is estimated that 15 million students annually visit and receive care from school based clinics for illnesses, medications and/or injuries;
1.5 million school-age children do not have health coverage and their first level of care when faced with a medical issue is the school clinic;
Approximately 30% of Georgia students have health conditions (i.e. asthma, diabetes, cancer, life-threatening allergies and seizure disorder);
As many as 5 million doses of prescription medications are given annually at schools;
School Nurses respond to medical emergencies, educate staff on school health issues and provide training on medical procedures;
School Nurses work in collaboration with community physicians and health organizations to ensure the health needs of students are met, and
They manage and prevent the control of communicable diseases; to only mention a few of their responsibilities.
Just recently in the media, student's compliance to Georgia immunization laws was raised. School nurses are a key component in monitoring the immunization status of school students and they assist the Public Health Department with ensuring immunization requirements are met. One can only imagine the results of this one health issue being left solely up to the school staff. Students and parents need and deserve School Nurses!

I employ and urge you as a Georgia citizen, physician, pediatrician, business leader, school administrator, community advocate, children's advocate, parent, student, school staff member or just supporter of school nurses, to please the contact the Governor and members of the Appropriations and Health Committees and offer your support by voicing your disapproval of these funds being eliminated from the state budget.

The following is contact information for Governor Sonny Perdue:
Governor Sonny Perdue
The Office of the Governor
203 State Capital, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone# 404-656-1776
Fax# 404-657-7332

You can also access the Appropriations Committee Members at:; and the Health and Human Services Committee Members at:

Thank you in advance for your support and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need any additional information.
In the words of the Former U.S. General Surgeon, Dr. Jocelyn Elder, "Children must be healthy to be educated and educated to be healthy."

Lynne P. Meadows, RN, MS
Coordinator, Student Health Services
Fulton County Schools
Office 404.305.2177
Fax 404.305-2172

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recession to Increase Homelessness

Recession to Increase Homelessness
National Alliance To End Homelessness Releases Paper

The number of people experiencing homelessness increases during recessions. Increasing numbers of unemployed people are unable to afford rent, and charities and local governments are unable to keep up. Based on the projected increase of persons in deep poverty -- those earning one-half of the poverty level -- the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington D.C. has released a paper estimating that approximately 866,000 additional Americans will experience homelessness at some point during each of the next two years. In other words, without intervention, an additional 1.5 million Americans will experience homelessness in 2009 and 2010.
In recent years, communities have rapidly increased their knowledge of how to address homelessness and have focused efforts around reducing and ending homelessness through prevention and rapid re-housing programs. Unfortunately, the effects of the recession are in danger of overwhelming their efforts unless communities receive assistance. Under current circumstances, the federal government is the only likely source of funding at a level sufficient to do the job. NAEH advocates that, for the two-year period beginning in early 2009, the federal government invest $2 billion for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, 400,000 additional Section 8 vouchers, and $10 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund.

Read The Full Paper HERE