Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Care for the Homeless Clients Meet with Members of Congress


Several Care for the Homeless clients and staff traveled to Washington, D.C., last Friday, to meet with members of the New York Congressional delegation or their staff to ask for support of programs and human services vital to homeless and poor people. These issues hold a special importance right now as the U.S. Senate and House are working on government funding for the remainder of the federal fiscal year, through September 30, 2013.  We were able to meet with New York Representatives or staff in the offices of Representatives Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Jose Serrano, Charles Rangel, Bill Owens and Nita M. Lowey.

Funding cutbacks pose a real and imminent threat to programs homeless and poor people count on including health and human services for homerless people, funding for AIDS testing and services, mental health funding, substance abuse treatment, and virtually every program for housing, tenant assistance and affordable housing. It threatens grants for homeless children, for mobile health and street care services, for educational assistance for homeless children and for nutrition assistance.

Several Care for the Homeless clients explained to lawmakers and their staffs how cutbacks in these programs could affect them.

It’s critical that these issues be considered now, because whatever spending level is adopted now will likely become the “base-line” level for the next budget scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2013. One of the points we made to the lawmakers is that most domestic programs for poor and homeless people are already operating under dramatic cuts adopted in 2011.  Clients also spoke with the policy makers about Medicaid, the causes of homelessness and the programs and services that have been most important to them.