The Obama administration has released its fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal, which will now be considered and debated by the U.S. Congress.
We are thoroughly examining this 1,300-page federal budget blueprint to assess its full impact on supportive housing and individuals and families experiencing homelessness and unstable housing.
In recent years, the administration proposed significant increases for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and other programs helping vulnerable populations.
We applaud some important highlights from the president's proposal released yesterday:
- Commits to ending homelessness and increasing affordable housing: The proposed FY2016 budget asks Congress to provide $177.5 million Special Purpose Vouchers that target homeless families, victims of domestic violence, veterans, tribal families experiencing homelessness, families engaged with the child welfare system and youth aging out of the foster care system. Further, the budget asks for an additional $277 million to restore vouchers lost due to sequestration. The budget proposal increases funding for McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance to $2.4 billion for contract renewals, new supportive housing for chronically homeless and emergency solutions.
- Promotes systems integration to improve outcomes: The budget proposes a variety of new initiatives that cut across multiple systems to improve outcomes for vulnerable populations. For example, the Upward Mobility Project that uses HUD and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) block grant funding to test and validate promising approaches to help families become self-sufficient, improve children's outcomes and revitalize communities. The administration is also asking for expansion of the Performance Pilots for Disconnected Youth, allowing communities to blend funding to support at-risk youth and improve outcomes. Finally, the budget requests $15 million for grants to provide training, and technical and strategic planning assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments develop multifaceted strategies that bring together criminal justice, social services, and public health agencies, as well as community organizations, to develop system-wide responses to the needs of mentally ill individuals involved in the criminal justice system.
- Emphasizes results-oriented, evidence-based practices: The proposal ramps up the administration's embrace of proven solutions, such as supportive housing, to address some of the most complex issues facing our states and communities.
Temporary relief from strict spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (sequestration) is now expiring, so we are facing a particularly difficult fiscal year and budget negotiations.
We need to join together to persuade Congress to fund programs that end homelessness, create more supportive housing, and increase the overall supply of affordable housing for all Americans.