On Wednesday, July 24th, 2019, the Partnership for Strong Communities and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness coordinated meetings with the Connecticut Congressional Delegation as part of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Capitol Hill Day. As part of Capitol Hill Day, we had the opportunity to have in-person meetings with Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-5), Congressman Jim Himes (D-4), and Congressman Joseph Courtney (D-2), as well as meetings with housing legislative staffers for Senator Murphy, Senator Blumenthal, Congresswoman DeLauro, and Congressman Larson.
Each meeting provided a fantastic opportunity to share updates on our states progress towards ending homelessness, and to discuss time impact and importance of federal investments and policies which directly impact our work to end homelessness as a state. This year, we advocated for policy priorities that would help us move closer towards our goal of ensuring that homelessness in Connecticut is rare, brief, and nonrecurring by 2023. These include HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Grants, funding for rental assistance and affordable housing programs, and an expansion of HUD-VASH program to serve all veterans who served on active duty.
Housing as a human right and the importance of ensuring that every individual, youth, and family has access to safe, stable housing and shelter was an overall theme which emerged from the meetings. Participants discussed the impact of HUDs proposed Mixed Status Ruling which would lead towards families where one member of the family is undocumented losing their housing aid, such as vouchers and public housing. Similarly, we discussed the impact of HUD’s overturning of the Equal Access Ruling and the potential impact that it could have on individuals who are LGBTQ access shelter and housing services across the state.
In addition, participants noted a need for a voucher preference for families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness, a need to revisit the federal chronic homelessness definition, and opportunities to address the underutilization of HUD-VASH vouchers in our state.
One of the key lessons from Capitol Hill Day was that our congressional delegates are our partners, and it’s important to share the impact that federal policies and resources are having in the lives of the people that we served. Please click here to reach out to Congress and let them know how federal funding is impacting the lives of the clients that you serve.
NAEH’s Policy priorities (One pager of all priorities)