NLCHP News: New Resource -- Federal Budget Cuts -- Update from Geneva
||A publication of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
|Lawyers Working to End Homelessness
||Vol. 7, No. 2
||From Maria's Desk
Six years ago, President Bush's annual
proposed budget included an express
commitment to end "chronic" homelessness in
ten years. Since then, his budget has
consistently proposed cuts to
low-income housing, while proposing (in some
years) small increases to the HUD homeless
programs. In essence, these proposals meant
increasing funding to help homeless people,
while at the same time (by much larger
amounts) cutting the very programs that could
prevent them from becoming homeless in the
This year, the Administration's strategy of
robbing Peter to pay Paul is even clearer. As
detailed in this month's issue of IJT, while
proposing small increases to HUD homeless
programs, the President's proposed budget
would cut emergency food and shelter funding,
as well as low-income housing programs.
But perhaps even more important than the
proposals of this President are the positions
of those vying to replace him. So far,
homelessness has not been a prominent part of
any candidate's campaign. To date, only one
major candidate - Senator Barack Obama - has
signed the Champion's Pledge to Address, End
and Prevent Homelessness sponsored by the New
Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness. Sen.
Obama is also the only major candidate
leading a legislative initiative to help
homeless veterans. No candidate is actively
proposing an initiative to end homelessness
for all Americans.
We have an opportunity right now to make a
difference and we need your help. First, contact
your elected representatives in Congress
and urge them to oppose the President's
proposed cuts. Second, contact the candidates
and urge them to make ending and preventing
homelessness for all Americans a top priority.
||New Resource: State Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors
NLCHP is proud to announce the release of the
updated fact sheet State Housing Laws and
Ensure Housing Rights for Survivors of
Violence Against Women. The publication
provides comprehensive information on
current, pending, and unsuccessfully proposed
legislation protecting the housing rights of
survivors of domestic violence. This
document includes measures that:
- Prohibit housing discrimination against
victims of domestic abuse;
- Allow domestic violence victims to
terminate a lease in order to flee an abuser;
- Provide a defense against eviction for
battered tenants in court;
- Prohibit landlords from refusing tenants
the ability to call the police; and
- Require landlords to change the locks on
a battered tenant's unit.
This publication is intended for use by
advocates and attorneys working with
survivors and for organizations working to
improve protections in their own state.
here to download a copy of the report.
NLCHP would like to thank the Waitt Family
Foundation for its support of our Domestic
||States Bills Would Protect Homeless Persons from Hate Crimes
In Maryland, Alaska, and
legislators have introduced bills to add
homeless persons to the list of protected
classes covered by their hate crimes
In Maryland, companion bills were
into the state Senate and House by Senator
Mooney and Delegate Susan McComas, and committee
hearings were recently held in both chambers.
At both hearings representatives from
NLCHP, the National Coalition for the
Homeless, the Homeless Persons
Project, the Maryland Catholic
and Health Care for the Homeless
support of both bills. On February 21, the
Senate bill was passed by the Senate 40 to 4.
The House bill is awaiting a committee
This is the third year that the legislation
has been introduced in Maryland. Last year,
Senate by a vote of 38 to 9, but it did not
come up for a vote in the House. This year,
NLCHP hopes to achieve passage of the bill.
In Alaska, Senator Bettye Davis and
Andrea Doll and Beth Kerttula introduced
bills into the
Senate (SB 211) and House (HB 292) that would
add homeless persons to Alaska's hate crimes
A similar bill (HB 419) was introduced in
Ohio by Representative Mike Foley.
In March, the National Coalition for
the Homeless and NLCHP will be releasing a
joint report on hate crimes committed against
homeless persons during 2007.
For more information on these bills or
the upcoming report, or to be involved in
hate crimes advocacy in your state, contact
Tulin Ozdeger, NLCHP's Civil Rights Director,
by email or
NLCHP would like to thank the Herb Block
Foundation for its support of our programs.
||President's Budget Slashes Billions from Programs for Poor Persons
In early February, President Bush released
his Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2009,
proposing significant cuts for many large
social safety net programs. Some homeless
programs fared slightly better, but proposed
increases to some would be offset by bigger
cuts to other housing and safety net programs
that would have a severe impact.
The following housing-related programs would
be among those facing significant cuts:
- The McKinney-Vento Emergency Food and
Shelter (EFS) program would
million, a drastic cut of 35% over last
- The Section 202 program for elderly
persons would lose $196
- Housing for persons with disabilities
would be reduced by $78 million;
- Housing Choice Vouchers would see
a funding drop equivalent to 100,000
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance
Program would be reduced
22% from last year's levels despite
rising energy prices;
- Domestic violence programs funded
the Violence Against Women Act would lose
$120 million, and the the budget would
eliminate the entire $2 billion budget of the
Victims of Crime Act Fund.
Other programs would receive level funding or
- McKinney-Vento programs
HUD would receive a 3%
increase over last year's budget;
- The McKinney-Vento PATH program,
outreach and case management for homeless
persons with mental illness, would see
a $7 million increase (still $15
than NLCHP has recommended); and
- The HUD-VASH program would
$75 million, matching what advocates obtained
last year and enough to provide housing
vouchers for 8,000-10,000 homeless
NLCHP is asking all advocates to call
Congress and tell them to oppose these cuts -
here for more information.
||UN Evaluates US on Racial Discrimination in Housing
On February 11, NLCHP joined partner
organizations for a historic briefing with
Congressional staff on their role in upcoming
U.S. review before the UN Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
here to read NLCHP testimony from the
This week, NLCHP travels to
Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the
review of the United States before CERD.
The review will focus on U.S. commitments
under the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, a legally binding treaty
designed to protect individuals from both
intentional and structural racial discrimination.
At the Congressional briefing, the first of
its kind, NLCHP Human Rights Staff Attorney
Eric Tars told staffers, "When the
ratified the treaty in 1994, Congress' job
was not complete. The treaty requires a
constant review of policy to ensure that
racial minorities are not disparately
Tars continued, "But Congress has not
fulfilled its role. Minorities represent more
than half the population with worst-case
housing needs, and more than half the
homeless population. Yet we have seen huge
cutbacks in funding for affordable housing
and other social safety net programs, and
this year's budget proposes more. Though few
here would admit it, these cutbacks have a
hugely discriminatory impact, and are
therefore a violation of our human rights
Congressional staff discussed with NLCHP how
they could better help implement their duties
under the treaty.
Later this month, NLCHP will use CERD's
Concluding Observations to inform this
ongoing conversation. Stay tuned for updates
as this exciting process continues!
here to read the evaluation of US policy
NLCHP and allies submitted to CERD.
Also, be sure to check out our video updates
from Geneva on YouTube
and The Hub!
NLCHP thanks the Butler Foundation and the
US Human Rights Fund for their support of the
||Free Surplus Government Property May be Available in Your Area
Could your organization use more space or a
different location? Vacant federal or
military property in your community may be
available for free to nonprofit organizations
for the purpose of assisting homeless
here for more information.
||Looking for a quick and easy way to support NLCHP?
Here's a few suggestions for quick-and-easy
ways to support NLCHP as you search, shop, or
is an online shopping site that works with
over 600 stores. Choose NLCHP as your charity
and register with the website. Then anytime
you want to shop online, log in and shop, and
a percentage of the sale will go to NLCHP.
is a search engine that donates 50% of its
advertising revenue to charities. Enter NLCHP
as your charity of choice and search as usual
- no need to register! You can even make
GoodSearch.com your homepage to make
supporting NLCHP even easier.
is an online shopping site connected to
GoodSearch. Enter NLCHP as the charity you're
supporting and then shop as usual at one of
the nearly 500 popular stores. A percentage
of the sale will go to NLCHP.
For Good helps locate charities
worthy of support, as well as charities with
volunteer opportunities. NLCHP is one of the
20,000 available charities listed. You can
even choose to set up a monthly, quarterly,
or annual donation.
Of course, you can also donate directly to
NLCHP through our website.
We also participate in the Combined
Federal Campaign as charity
#11947. Your support is greatly
appreciated and will help NLCHP continue its
critical work to prevent and end homelessness.
Visit our website at www.nlchp.org! Contact us at (202) 638-2535 or email us at
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