Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Support the HEARTH Act

Support the HEARTH Act: Congressional Hearings Oct. 4 and Oct. 11


The "Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH)," H.R. 840, reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Act’s HUD Homeless Assistance Programs. H.R. 840 provides greater decision making at the local level, more closely aligns the HUD definition of homelessness with other federal agency definitions (including the U.S. Department of Education), expands resources for emergency shelter and supportive services, provides a framework for greater homeless prevention activity, allows communities the flexibly to implement a range of housing solutions, and makes HUD policy more sensitive to the needs of children, youth, and families.

In contrast, the Senate bill, S. 1518, the Community Partnership to End Homelessness Act (CPEHA), is flawed. It contains a complex, restrictive definition of homelessness which requires those who are doubled-up or in motels to make multiple moves in order to gain eligibility; it codifies permanent housing set-asides that deny communities the ability to meet the needs of all homeless populations that they identify; and it excludes community planning provisions that would ensure participation by homeless education liaisons and also help ensure that homeless children and youth are able to exercise their educational rights.

Legislative Update:

The House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, will hold two hearings on reauthorization of HUD's McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grant programs. The hearings will take place on Thursday, October 4 at 10am, and Thursday, October 11 at 2pm.

Ms. Pittre Walker, NAEHCY Board Member and Homeless Liaison for Caddo Parish Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana, will testify at the October 4 hearing. Her testimony will be available from the NAEHCY web site prior to the hearing. Diane Nilan, President of HEAR US, will testify at the October 11th hearing. Other partners, including the National Policy & Advocacy Council on Homelessness, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the National Network for Youth, also will provide testimony. Both hearings can be viewed via webcast, by going to:

Recommended Action:

Please ask the House to take action on the HEARTH Act, H.R. 840. A list of the current 78 co-sponsors can be found here:

If your Representative is a co-sponsor, please call their office to thank them, and ask that they urge House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters to pass the HEARTH Act and bring it to the House floor.

If your Representative is not a co-sponsor, please ask them to become one - the more co-sponsors we have, the more likely it is that HEARTH will move forward. Contact information for all House Members is available at If your Representative is interested in co-sponsoring HEARTH, they should notify Kathleen Taylor in the office of Representative Julia Carson.

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