Members of the U.S. Congress have adjourned for recess until April 17 and will return to their home states and districts for in-district work periods. Recess offers advocates the opportunity to schedule in-district meetings with senators and representatives. In-district meetings are a highly effective advocacy tactic and a powerful tool for building relationships with member offices. Advocates can use these meetings to share personalized stories about how federal affordable housing and homelessness resources are impacting members’ states and communities. Find more information on setting up an in-district meeting, as well as talking points and other resources, in NLIHC’s resource “In-District Meetings with Members of Congress or Staff.”
Advocacy with members of Congress will be vitally important in the coming months, as members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate continue discussing a path forward for raising the federal debt ceiling and enacting a fiscal year (FY) 2024 funding bill. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is pushing for significant cuts to FY24 spending – including a potential proposal to cap FY24 spending at FY22 levels – in exchange for guaranteeing that members of his caucus vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling. The speaker’s proposed cuts could result in as much as $130 billion being cut from non-defense discretionary programs, including HUD’s and USDA’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs. According to an analysis released by the Office of HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, capping FY24 spending at FY22 levels would “represent the most devastating impacts in HUD’s history” and “make it impossible to stave off mass evictions” (see Memo, 4/3).
It is unacceptable to balance the federal budget by demanding cuts to programs that help the lowest-income households survive. There is a national shortage of approximately 7 million affordable, available homes for people with the lowest incomes, and only one in four households who qualify for federal housing assistance receives the help it needs. Without adequate funding for vital federal affordable housing and homeless assistance programs, households with the lowest incomes will continue to live precariously, only one missed paycheck or unexpected emergency away from housing instability, eviction, and, in the worst cases, homelessness.
In addition to scheduling in-district meetings with their members of Congress, advocates can continue to take action:
- Sign your organization on to the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding’s (CHCDF) annual budget letter, calling on Congress to reject spending cuts and instead provide the highest possible allocation for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in FY24.
- Email your members of Congress today and urge them to increase – not cut – resources for affordable housing and homelessness in FY24 and to support NLIHC’s top appropriations priorities:
- $32.7 billion for the TBRA program to renew existing vouchers and to expand the program to an additional 200,000 households.
- $5.4 billion for public housing operations and $5 billion for public housing repairs.
- $3.8 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program.
- $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- $3 billion for a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance program.
- $300 million for the competitive tribal housing grants, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.
- Check out NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, “Oppose Dramatic Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing,” for talking points, sample social media messages, and more!