The Texas Homeless Network (THN), an NLIHC state partner, is joining with advocates across the state to fight back against budget proposals that would eliminate the state’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs, discontinue the only homeless housing assistance program that receives state funding, and reduce funding for the state’s housing trust fund. The proposals were offered as legislators attempt to close a $27 billion shortfall entering the biennial budget process for FY12-13.
On February 22, the Texas House Appropriations Committee (HAC) met with the state’s Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to accept budget recommendations for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The recommendations include the elimination of the Homeless Housing and Services Program (HHSP), reducing the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) by 46.7%, and provisions that require FY12-13 appropriations be used for the gradual elimination of TDHCA. The LBB proposes appropriating only $8.1 million for TDHCA in FY12-13 compared to $22.6 million in FY10-11. These recommendations echoed Governor Rick Perry’s (R) budget proposal released on February 8.
THN is working with its supporters and other housing providers to urge legislators to restore FY09 funding levels and preserve the $20 million Homeless Housing and Services Program. As the only state-funded homeless housing program, HHSP is particularly important because it provides services and housing placement to families and individuals in the state’s eight largest urban cities. THN and its allies are working with members of the Appropriations Committee and are scheduled to testify before the committee on March 1.
Additionally, THN is preparing to launch a Homelessness Awareness and Advocacy Day at the state capital on March 8 with supporters from Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. THN has also launched a community education campaign known as FACE (Fostering Alliances in Communities to End) Homelessness. The campaign combines art and advocacy as a way to educate communities about the 80,000 Texans experiencing homelessness and the importance of programs such as HHSP and the Housing Trust Fund.
“One of our primary objectives is to engage with communities across Texas in developing solutions that ultimately end homelessness,” said Ken Martin, Executive Director of the Texas Homeless Network. “Now more than ever, we cannot afford to lose our homeless prevention, mental health, and substance abuse treatment programs that so many Texans need. While we recognize funding increases are not likely, preserving the programs already in place is vital during this time of increased need.”
For more information, contact Ken Martin at email@example.com