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Action Alerts

McAuley's Action Alerts provide all the facts and analysis you need to understand the issue and debate with others - including letters you can send to elected officials and others to express your views and influence decisions.

Action Alerts are sent directly to you via email at no charge. Action Alerts are distributed monthly - or at any time an issue of special concern to our network arises. Please click here to subscribe to, or unsubscribe from, Action Alerts.

Current Action Alert:

7/25/2000 HUD Budget, Minimum Wage & Domestic Violence Awareness Month Sign-On

Past Action Alerts:

7/14/2000 Violence Against Women Act

6/9/2000 Draft Rule Will Support Investment in Housing Activities in Underserved Communities

5/26/2000 Violence Against Women Act and FY 2001 HUD Funding

5/15/2000 FY 2001 HUD Funding

4/14/2000 "See Your Members at Home in May"

3/31/2000 New Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Bill in the Senate and HUD's Good Neighbor Policy

3/21/2000 President Asks How to Best Use Additional $5 Billion For Affordable Housing!

3/4/2000 Violence Against Women Act Update & HUD's SuperNOFA Schedule

2/14/2000 FY2001 HUD Budget

1/28/2000 Congress Should Reauthorize VAWA, Add a New Transitional Housing Program

1/7/2000 1999 Progress Report: The Year In Review

11/23/1999 Sign-On in Support of Strong FY 2001 HUD Budget

10/15/1999 Emergency for New Yorkers: Senator Schumer Caving on CRA

9/30/1999 FY 2000 HUD Appropriations

9/27/1999 Community Reinvestment Act Update 9/4/1999 Fall Session Update

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July 25,2000
HUD Budget, Minimum Wage & Domestic Violence Awareness Month Sign-On

HUD Budget

Status
Action in the Senate on the VA-HUD appropriations bill has once again been delayed. Congress is under tight, self-imposed budget constraints. Senate leaders have not allocated enough money to do the HUD appropriations bill to enable its chairman, Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) to move it to the floor. It is unlikely that the bill will move forward prior to the summer recess from July 28 - September 5.

We anticipate in September that either the Republicans will agree to make more money available or that HUD funding will be determined as part of a final negotiation between the White House and Congressional leadership on a large tax and spending budget reconciliation bill. In the latter case, President Clinton has set his priorities as new housing assistance vouchers and his initiatives for New Markets and a new faith-based initiative.

In an atmosphere where huge tax cuts are being voted and anticipated surpluses are rapidly growing it is unacceptable that housing affordable to low-income persons is being held hostage. The Congressional Budget Office recently doubled its surplus projection for the next ten years to $2.2 trillion. With a $100 billion projected surplus for next year, it is unbelievable that Congress would not address the growing U.S. housing shortage. Therefore, it is critical that your Senators hear from you regarding the importance of making funding available for low-income housing and community development programs.

Action and Message
Contact your Senators telling them that you support increased funding for HUD for FY 2001. It is important to give concrete examples of effective federally funded housing programs to highlight the need for funding for technical assistance critical to community-based organizations. [See content of the Sample Letter in the June 26 Alert for your visits/calls/letters.]

See Your Members of Congress at Home over the recess between July 28 - September 5. Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net.

McAuley would appreciate receiving a copy of the letters you write to Congress, or feedback you receive from your members. We would welcome your requests for further information. Contact Richelle Friedman at: 301-588-8110, ext. 269, or rfriedman@mcauley.org .

Support a Minimum Wage Increase

The Coalition on Human Needs is collecting signatures nationwide to a letter urging Congress to raise the minimum wage. You can add your organization's name by going to the letter on CHN's web page www.chn.org/minimumwage/.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Background
Last October, advocates from across the country successfully educated their communities on the impact of domestic violence and increased public awareness about this issue. We are hoping to see similar success this October. To formally inaugurate this year's activities, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is asking President Clinton to make a statement to the nation with a proclamation declaring October 2000 Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Our letter to the President, as you can see on the following page, illustrates the increased importance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year. With the Violence Against Women Act set to expire on October 1, 2000, it is crucial that President Clinton continue to demonstrate his commitment to ending domestic violence. We want to emphasize the importance of this declaration so it will receive the high level of attention it deserves. By signing your name or your organization's name to this letter, you can make a statement not just about the impact of this symbolic month but of the importance of VAWA to you and your community.

Action and Message
To include your organization's name on the letter asking President Clinton to declare October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please fill out the information below, and return this by mail, fax or e-mail to NCADV at:

Mail:1532 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Fax: 202-745-0088

E-mail: ncadv2@sprynet.com

The deadline for signing on is July 31, 2000.
Please call Ashley Haymond with any questions at 202-745-1211. Thanks for your participation!

Organization Name (exactly as it should appear):
_________________________________________________
This organization is(circle one):national/statewide/local
Contact name:____________________________________
City/State/Zip:__________________________________
Phone: ____________________________
Fax: ______________________________
E-mail: ___________________________
Web Site:

August 1, 2000

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Clinton:

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the undersigned organizations would like to thank you and your Administration for your continuing support of programs for battered women and their children. Across the country, anti-domestic violence advocates continue to work for increased awareness and concern about this issue. However, despite all of our successes, millions of women across our nation still live with the daily fear of the abuse they face at the hands of an intimate partner. To set the tone for the coming decades, declaring unequivocally that intimate violence is not acceptable, we request that you declare October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

With the support of the federal government and the Violence Against Women Act, we have been able to provide increased funding for shelters, create a national domestic violence hotline, and fund training for law enforcement and court officials. Since your signing of VAWA into law in 1994, our nation has made great strides in protecting battered women and their children, but there is still much work to do. A recent Department of Justice report on intimate partner violence reports that about 1 million violent crimes were committed against persons by their current or former intimate partner. About 85% of these victimizations were committed against women. Judges still award custody to abusive parents, young women continue to be abused in dating relationships at alarming rates, and domestic violence is a major factor in child abuse and neglect fatalities in the United States. And, as you know, VAWA will expire on October 1 of this year unless Congress moves quickly to reauthorize these life-saving programs.

Your support of anti-domestic violence measures, including VAWA Reauthorization, sends a powerful message that the United States will not tolerate violence against women any longer. The support of the White House has always played an important role in the success of our past efforts to educate the nation during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in our efforts to end domestic violence in the lives of all women. This year we again look forward to your assistance with the domestic violence awareness events that will take place in our nation's capital and across the county. We also urge you to consider the impact of all your policies on battered women and their children and to push for immediate passage of the VAWA reauthorization bill. Ending domestic violence must be a national priority. Let us begin this new century with the promise of a peaceful future. We ask that on October 1, 2000, you make a statement to the nation declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Sincerely,
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

July 14,2000
Violence Against Women Act

Background
Unless the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is reauthorized by Oct. 1, funding will not be possible for critical domestic violence programs and services including the National Domestic Violence Hotline (See May 26, 2000 ALERT for background). Both pending committee-reported VAWA reauthorization bills include a new $25 million transitional housing provision.

If approved in their current form, short-term housing assistance and related supportive services will be authorized. An annual report to the Congress, providing the number of individuals and dependents assisted, the types of housing assistance they receive and the number of persons unable to take advantage of the assistance due to the unavailability of housing, could help build the case for expanding the transitional housing provision in the future.

Status
Both the House and Senate versions of VAWA continue to have bi-partisan support. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), ranking minority member of the committee, introduced S. 2787, the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, on June 26, 200 with 51 co-sponsors. The measure was reported from the Judiciary Committee on June 29. The original version of VAWA in the Senate (S. 51) had 46 co-sponsors so your Senators may be sponsors of either or both S. 2787 or S. 51. Senator Torriceli (D-NJ) is working with Senator Biden to try to strengthen the transitional housing provisions in S. 2787.

The House version of VAWA, H.R. 1248, was reported from the Judiciary Committee last month and may be considered by the full House on Monday, July 17 under a procedural device known as "suspension of the rules". Under this procedure, no amendments to the bill will be permitted when the measure is considered on the House floor.

Action and Message
Contact your Senators, especially Republicans, and ask them to urge Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), the majority leader, to schedule S. 2787 for consideration by the full Senate before the August recess. If you are from Mississippi, call Senator Lott at the Majority Leader office at 202-224-3135. All Senators can be reached through the Capitol switchboard, 202/224-3121. Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net

Contact Nancy Bernstine at nbernstine@mcauley.org or Makeda Harris at mharris@mcauley.org for further information.

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June 9,2000
Draft Rule Will Support Investment in Housing Activities in Underserved Communities

Background
The Federal Housing Finance Board is charged with ensuring the safe and sound operation of the Federal Home Loan Banks. Federal Home Loan Banks, which the Board regulates, are an important source of credit and capital for the affordable housing and community development needs of low and moderate income communities. The Bank System's targeted funding programs, community support activities and regular advance programs help community-oriented lenders and nonprofit development organizations to increase the supply of affordable housing, sustain economic growth in all communities, and provide financial resources to revitalize struggling neighborhoods. The Federal Home Loan Banks have played an especially important rule in the provision of affordable housing through the Affordable Housing Program.

The Board has issued a proposed rule, which among other things, sets out the types of "core mission assets" that must be addressed in the Federal Home Loan Banks' strategic business plans. Some members of the housing finance industry and some of the Federal Home Loan Banks themselves may oppose the proposed rule. It is important that the Federal Housing Finance Board hear from organizations such as yours, concerned about attracting capital to underserved communities.

Comments are due June 15, but letters received after that date will also have an impact.

Action and MessageYou can use the following model letter to support the proposed rule. Your own letter can be sent by mail or e-mail bakere@fhfb.gov.


Elaine L. Baker
Secretary to the Board
Federal Housing Finance Board
1777 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

RE: comments on Proposed Rule "Federal Home Loan Bank Acquired Member Assets, Core Mission Activities, Investment and Advances", (65 Federal Register 25676, May 3, 2000).

Dear Ms. Baker:

[Briefly describe your organization] We work at the local level with groups such as the McAuley Foundation to create housing opportunities and provide supportive services to low income families in our community. Thus, we are of course concerned about attracting adequate capital to underserved communities such as our own.

We strongly support the proposed rule. We particularly applaud the proposed rule's creation of more opportunities for targeted investment by the Banks in low-income communities by including Targeted Debt and Equity Investments as Core Mission Activities. We believe that core mission activities should be broadly interpreted to encourage financial support for activities which will bring needed housing to our community without compromising the Finance Board's mission of safety and soundness. In addition we believe Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are filling an important need in underserved communities. We hope that the proposed rule will support a role for them and provide them with targeted equity.

Thank you for considering our views.

Sincerely,

McAuley would appreciate receiving a copy of your letter by fax or e-mail nbernstine@mcauley.org . For more information, you can also call Nancy Bernstine, 301/588-8110.

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May 26,2000
Violence Against Women Act and FY2001 HUD Funding

Violence Against Women Act

Background
Unless the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is reauthorized by Oct. 1, funding will not be possible for domestic violence programs and services including the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In addition to the programs that must continue to exist, McAuley Institute recognizes the need for safe and secure housing beyond shelter for survivors of domestic violence and their children. As a result, McAuley Institute has led an effort by advocacy groups to assist congressional leaders in drafting a transitional housing provision.

Status
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), ranking minority member of the committee, have agreed to add new, but modest, transitional housing program to the VAWA bill they take to the floor of the Senate. To expedite passage, they would like to attach the bill to another uncontroversial bill, such as the Trafficking of Women and Children Victim Protection Act (S. 600). This bi-partisan, simple reauthorization is expected to move as early as June 6 to the Senate Floor.>Action and Message> Contact your Senators, especially Republicans, and ask them to: 1) support VAWA reauthorization and 2) urge Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) to include VAWA with the Trafficking bill planned to go to the Senate Floor early June.

If you are told VAWA can't be approved because of the recent Brzonkala decision by the Supreme Court, you can inform them that this decision did not affect the constitutionality of VAWA programs other than the right to sue attackers in federal courts.

If you are from Mississippi, call Senator Lott at the Majority Leader office at 202-224-3135. All Senators can be reached through the Capitol switchboard, 202/224-3121.

Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net. McAuley Institute would welcome hearing what feedback you receive from your Members of Congress.


See Your Members of Congress at Home

Representatives and Senators will be home for Memorial Day district work period from May 26 to June 5. Call or visit them when they are home about VAWA and any other concerns.

For more information, contact Makeda Harris or Nancy Bernstein at 301-588-8110, or email at mharris@mcauley.org or nbernstine@mcauley.org.

FY 2001 HUD Funding

On May 23, the House Subcommittee on VA-HUD and Independent Agencies made its recommendations for funding for HUD for FY 2001. Overall, it recommends $30 billion for FY 2001, $2.5 billion (7.6 percent) below the President's $32.5 billion request.

The Subcommittee believes the $13.3 billion it provides for Section 8 fully funds the renewal of all Section 8 contracts and provides funds for new incremental rental assistance. The degree to which new assistance will be available depends on the amount of unused FY 2000 funds in the Section 8 account.

Two new programs proposed by the Administration that were not funded are the Community and Interfaith Partnerships Initiative and the Voucher Success Fund. The first is a $20 million initiative to help community and faith-based organizations in their efforts to supply affordable housing, create economic opportunity, promote the goal of fair housing, and increase the effectiveness of HUD programs like Section 8 vouchers. The second is a $50 million fund to help public housing authorities help families surmount individual barriers to rental housing.

The full House Appropriations Committee considers the bill on June 6. The entire House votes on the bill soon thereafter. The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the bill June 14, followed shortly by a vote by the entire Senate.

In light of the growing shortage of affordable housing and the substantial budget surplus expected in FY 2001, McAuley Institute believes that additional investments in affordable housing and community development are both necessary and affordable. We are asking Congress to support a strong HUD budget which includes 120,000 new Section 8 vouchers and which increases HUD programs more than the inflation rate.

Action
Contact your Representative and Senators telling her/him that you support increased funding for HUD for FY 2001. Sight specific affordable housing needs and/or programs that you are familiar with that are working for low-income people in your area. Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net. The Capitol Switchboard number is: 202-224-3121. McAuley Institute would welcome feedback you receive from your Members of Congress.

See Your Members of Congress at Home over the Memorial Day recess May 26 - June 5.

For more information, contact Richelle Friedman at 301-588-8110, ext. 269, or rfriedman@mcauley.org.

May 15, 2000
FY 2001 HUD Funding

The House VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its FY 2001 appropriations bill the week of May 22. (See April 14 Alert for background.) The $78 billion overall subcommittee allocation is $400 million less than this year's funding level. HUD programs will be competing for funds with veterans' medical care, the National Science Foundation and other programs within the subcommittee's jurisdiction that tend to be popular with Congress. Therefore, it is important that Representatives receive many calls and letters from constituents in support of a strong HUD budget.

McAuley Institute invites you to join us in asking Congress to support the President's $32 billion request for HUD which includes 120,000 new incremental housing rental vouchers and full funding of Section 8 renewals. Programs important to low-income people for which the President is seeking increases include: the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, McKinney Homeless Assistance, Housing Counseling Assistance, Elderly and Disabled Housing, and Fair Housing, the Community and Interfaith Partnerships Initiative and Voucher Success Fund.

Action
Contact your Representative telling her/him that you support housing and community development programs in HUD and urging her/him to support increased funding for HUD for FY 2001. Mention specially programs that are being successfully utilized in your area. If your Representative is not a member of the Subcommittee ask them to communicate their support for HUD funding to Subcommittee Chairman Walsh (R-NY) and Ranking Member Representative Mollohan (D-WV).

House VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee Members:Republicans: Walsh (NY), DeLay (TX), Hobson (OH), Knollenberg (MI), Frelinghuysen (NJ), Wicker (MS), Northup (KY), Sununu (NH) Democrats: Mollohan (WV), Kaptur (OH), Meek (FL), Price (NC), Cramer (AL)

See Your Members of Congress at HomeRepresentatives and Senators will be home for Memorial Day district work period from May 26 to June 5. Call or visit them when they are home. Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net. McAuley Institute would welcome feedback you receive from your Members of Congress.

For more information, contact Richelle Friedman at 301-588-8110, ext. 269, or rfriedman@mcauley.org.

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April 14, 2000
See Your Members of Congress at Home by May

Representatives will be home for spring district work period from April 14 to May 1. Senators will be home in their states from April 14 to April 24. Call or visit them when they are home. Contact information for all Members of Congress can be found at: www.capweb.net

FY 2001 HUD Appropriations

Background
The first step in arriving at the FY 2001 funding level for HUD housing and economic development programs is submission of the President's budget. His budget requests $32 billion for HUD, $6 billion more than the FY 2000 level of $26 billion.

The next step is the Congressional budget. While the Congressional budget is non-binding and lacks specificity regarding agency funding, it does set limits on overall spending for discretionary programs where most HUD programs are funded. The budget passed by Congress has set non-defense discretionary spending at 6 percent below what would be needed to maintain spending at current, inflation adjusted levels.

Between May 1 and October 1, Congress will pass appropriations bills for each department and program. It is important that they are aware of the effectiveness of housing programs.

In March, HUD released its report to Congress on worst case housing needs. While the economy has grown, families with worst case housing needs have grown to an all-time high of 5.4 million households, 58 percent headed by women. These consist of low-income renters who receive no housing assistance and who pay more than half of their income for rent or live in severely substandard housing. Only one-fourth of those eligible for federal housing assistance receive it.

Action
As early as May, Congress may vote on the VA-HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. It is important that all Members of Congress hear from their constituents. Let your Senators and Representative know you support increased funding low-income housing and economic development programs in HUD.

For more information, contact Richelle Friedman at 301/588-8110, ext. 269, or rfriedman@mcauley.org.

Violence Against Women Act

Background
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which expires at the end of FY2000, provides important funding for programs which funds services for domestic violence survivors, aids in prosecutions of abusers and funds the National Domestic Violence Hotline among other things.
Action

During the district work period contact your member and ask that they support reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and, that reauthorization include a transitional housing provision, which has bi-partisan support of the chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For more information on VAWA, contact Nancy Bernstine at 301/588-8110, ext. 286, or nbernstine@mcauley.org

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March 31, 2000
New Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Bill in the Senate and HUD's Good Neighbor Policy

Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Legislation

Status
On February 28 Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) introduced a free-standing bill to provide housing assistance for victims of domestic violence. He was joined by Senators Jeffords (R-VT). Kerry (D-MA), Landrieu (D-LA) and Murray (D-WA). Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Johnson(D-SD) have recently co-sponsored the bill. H.R. 2112 is the same as H.R. 1325, introduced by Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL) and Title IV of H.R. 357, also known as VAWA '99. H.R. 2112 has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. (for more background information on VAWA, refer to Action Alert from March 21, 2000)

Action and Message
Please write/call your Senators to ask that they co-sponsor Senator Torricelli's bill if they are not listed above. The number of the capital switchboard is (202)225-3121. If your Senator is interested in signing on or wants more information, the contact in Sen. Torricelli's office is Sarah Wills at (202)224-3224.

Since the congressional session began in January, the staff of some members of Congress have raised the issue of whether reauthorization of VAWA must await decision in a case now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, United States v. Morrison/Brzonkala v. Morrison, challenging the constitutionality of VAWA's federal civil rights remedial scheme. The NOW Legal Defense and Educational Fund which argued the case in the Supreme Court recently wrote to members of Congress urging that delay in VAWA reauthorization is not justified. A version of that letter which you may adapt and send to your Senators and member of Congress appears below.

March 2000

Dear Member of Congress,

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 must be reauthorized immediately. In January the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund argued the case of United States v. Morrison/Brzonkala v. Morrison in the Supreme Court. This case challenges the constitutionality of VAWA's federal civil rights remedy. Recently some congressional staff have suggested that VAWA reauthorization be delayed until the Supreme Court issues its ruling in Brzonkala. NOWLDEF, which chairs of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women wrote to you on March 15, 2000 to clarify that -- no matter what the Court decides -- this ruling will have no impact on the other provisions of VAWA '94 nor on its reauthorization. The purpose of this letter is to support immediate reauthorization of VAWA.

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is historic legislation containing a broad array of laws and programs to combat violence against women. For the past five years, VAWA has funded and promoted significant innovations in federal, state and local programs to assist victims of violence, enhance prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes, and prevent violence against women and children in their homes and on the streets.

As a community-based group working to create affordable housing options for women and children, we particularly hope that transitional housing provisions which will fund up to 12 months of housing assistance beyond emergency shelter assistance, can be authorized.

VAWA's programs and services are not part of the Supreme Court case and will not be affected by the court's ruling on the constitutionality of the civil rights remedy. It is vital that the reauthorization of VAWA occurs as early as possible this session and not be held up in a misguided attempt to wait for the Court's decision.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter. We hope that you will support the bi-partisan effort to reauthorize VAWA '94.

Sincerely,

For more information on VAWA, contact Nancy Bernstine at 301/588-8110, ext. 286, or nbernstine@mcauley.org.

Good Neighborhood Policy
In early March HUD Secretary Cuomo and Representative Kasich (R-OH), chairman of the House Budget Committee, announced the new HUD Good Neighbor Policy. Under the policy, single-family homes that are acquired in foreclosure actions by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in HUD will be eligible for sale to local governments for $1 each whenever FHA is unable to sell the homes for six months.

Local governments buying HUD homes for $1 can sell or rent them to low- and moderate-income families, to first-time homebuyers, or to groups that will use the homes to provide services such as child care centers or job centers. Homes in extremely deteriorated condition where rehabilitation is not feasible will be demolished by HUD and the vacant lots will be offered for sale to the local government for $1.

The Good Neighbor Policy complements other HUD initiatives aimed at disposing single-family foreclosed properties. One initiative involves using private contractors with expertise in property management to sell the properties in a timely manner. Another initiative which gives non-profits and local governments discounts on properties in areas designated as revitalization areas.

HUD is drafting guidelines for the Good Neighbor Policy which will take effect on May 1, 2000. McAuley Institute has recommended to HUD that the guidelines include strong notification requirements so that nonprofits become aware of properties that cities have acquired so they may become involved in determining the use of the properties.

For more information on the Good Neighbor Policy, contact Richelle Friedman at 301/588-8110, ext. 269, or rfriedman@mcauley.org.

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March 21, 2000
President Asks How to Best Use Additional $5 Billion For Affordable Housing!

Status
In an unusual but welcomed demonstration of support for embattled federal low-income housing programs, President Clinton last week directed HUD to propose ways in which newly identified surpluses from the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) - MMI (Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund) could be dedicated to affordable housing purposes.

The President directed HUD, OMB and the Domestic Policy Council to make recommendations within 160 days for how the additional funds might be used to advance affordable housing purposes. A March 8 HUD press release suggests that new production, downpayment assistance to increase homeownership and incremental vouchers are among potential uses.

At the HUD press conference announcing the surplus, Rep. John LaFalce (D-NY), ranking member of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee, and spokesmen for the Mortgage Bankers Association a nd the National Association of Home Builders praised the merit of using the additional funds to expand homeownership.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), of which McAuley Institute is a member, said that every new unit created with the money must address the housing shortage, observing that the $5 billion only begins to deal with the needs of the families at 0-30 percent of median income with severe housing needs. While supporting new vouchers, NLIHC said that preservation and production of the current stock must be given equal attention.

Secretary Cuomo, acknowledging the efforts of a broad constituency and policymakers, highlighted the proposal of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) , ranking member of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, to create a National Housing Trust Fund dedicated to the construction of permanent affordable housing. (The National Housing Trust Fund is one of McAuley's current public policy priorities). Over the coming months as it crafts its recommendations, HUD will be soliciting the views of national organizations on uses for the money that will promote access to affordable housing.

Background
In a March 7 memorandum to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council, the President credited HUD's 2020 Management Reform Plan as contributing to the turnaround in the once "near bankrupt" FHA and its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Rather than directly providing mortgage loans, FHA underwrites loans made by private lenders to homebuyers. The source of dollars for the MMI fund is fees the FHA charges for mortgage insurance.

A recent HUD actuarial review conducted by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche revealed that the MMI is valued at a record $16.6 billion -- more than $5 billion above the FY1998 reported value. OMB must now conduct a review to determine the amount of funds actually available, the relationship of how any surplus fits with FHA's overall financial condition and with the current administration's economic assumptions.

Sen. Kerry discussed his proposal to create a National Housing Trust Fund last year. He has not yet introduced a bill, but his idea is to create a permanent trust fund financed by $2 billion annually from proceeds of the government-owned FHA and Ginnie Mae. These funds now go into the general treasury. The Housing Trust Fund would act as the National Highway Trust Fund which is financed by highway taxes.

Sen. Kerry said the Fund would feature state and local flexibility based on community needs, long-term affordability, nonprofit and private development, mixed income housing and leveraging of state, local and private resources.

Action and Message
It is critical to support HUD and the President's resolve to use of this additional money for affordable housing purposes.

Write to:
HUD Secretary Cuomo
451 7th St., S.W., 10th floor
Washington, D.C. 2041

You might also contact Jacob Lew, Director Office of Management and Budget, 252 Old Executive Office Building
17th and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20503,
to express your support for this use.

Let McAuley know your opinions. Contact Nancy Bernstine, 301/588-8110, ext. 286, or nbernstine@mcauley.org.

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March 3, 2000
Voilence Against Women Act & HUD's SuperNOFA Schedule

Violence Against Women Act

Status
The prospects for VAWA reauthorization have increased in recent weeks (see Policy Alert of Jan. 7, 2000 as background). While the status of the bills pending on the House side has not changed, negotiations continue on the Senate side between Senators Biden and Hatch, ranking member and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to craft a final bill. It is the understanding of advocates working on VAWA reauthorization that the measure will include a transitional housing provision.

With funding for existing VAWA programs set to run out this fiscal year, reauthorization of VAWA '94 for five more years at enhanced and expanded levels remains the top priority of the Task Force assembled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). NCADV is sponsoring events in Washington on March 8 and 9 to promote VAWA reauthorization (see below for a list of steps you can take in your communities to support this effort).

The latest indication of support for a transitional housing provision is Sen. Robert Torricelli's (D-NJ) introduction Feb. 28 of a companion bill in the Senate to Rep. Schakowsky's (D-IL) freestanding bill in the House (H.R. 1352), which also appears as Title IV, Subtitle A of H.R. 357, the VAWA '99 bill.

Action and Message
Sen. Torricelli's bill (S. 2112) was co-sponsored by Senators Jeffords (R-VT), Murray (D-WA), Kerry (D-MA) and Landrieu (D-LA). Their constituents concerned about housing and domestic violence will want to thank them.

If your Representative or Senator has not yet signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 1248, H.R. 357, or S. 51, please contact them and encourage them to do so, particularly if they are members of the House or Senate Judiciary Committees. Up-to-date co-sponsor lists can be found on the web at http://thomas.loc.gov. Also urge your members to co-sponsor or support the freestanding transitional housing bills in both the House and Senate, H.R. 1352 and S. 2112.

Schedule lobby visits in your Senators' or Representative's district office. Senators will be on recess March 20 - April 14. Representatives have a district work period scheduled from April 17-28.

Here are a few more ways you can be involved in the reauthorization of VAWA:

* Call your member of Congress on March 8th!

Join NCADV's National Lobby Day participants on March 8th, International Women's Day, and let your voice be heard. Just because you can't be in Washington doesn't mean you can't let your member of Congress know about the issues that are important to you. Call your Congressperson's office and let them know that you support the reauthorization of VAWA and inform them of transitional housing and other key priorities within your community.

See the list below for ideas on your message to your member of Congress. Remember, be prepared to share stories, statistics, and funding information with your member or her/his staffer. To contact your Representative, call 202-225-3121. To contact your Senator call 202-224-3121.

* Write a letter of support!
Write a letter from your organization or community coalition to your Representatives and Senators showing your support for VAWA reauthorization and other Violence Against Women initiatives. Call the Senate Postmaster at 202-224-5353 or the House Postmaster at 202-225-3856 for the exact address of your Senator or Representative, or try the web sites at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. Please send copies of your letters to NCADV at: 1532 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, fax:202-745-0088.

* Visit your district office!
Schedule a visit with the district office staff of your Representative and/or Senators for March 8th, and share how VAWA money has impacted your domestic violence program and the lives of the women with whom you work. For the numbers for your district offices you can contact your member's office here in D.C. or call the NCADV Public Policy Office at the number below.

Some priority issues for the March lobby event include but are not limited to:

1. Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
2. Inclusion of language in the Reauthorization package that addresses civil legal assistance and transitional housing programs for victims of domestic violence.
3. Inclusion of language in the Reauthorization package that protects battered immigrant women and their families.
4. Technical corrections to the federal definition of domestic violence to include dating violence.
5. Implementation of full faith and credit provisions of protection orders.

As luck would have it, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) is planning to try to add an Amendment to the Elementary & Secondary Education Act on March 8th. The Amendment would fund grants to implement educational programs on domestic violence in schools and to develop effective school policies for addressing the violence that children and adolescents may be witnessing or experiencing themselves. If this is an issue that your program works on, let your Senators know that they should support the Wellstone Amendment to Elementary & Secondary Education Act.

Call the NCADV Public Policy Office at 202-745-1211 for more information on the March 8th Lobby Day or other steps you can take to support VAWA.

HUD's SuperNOFA

On February 26, 2000 HUD issued the FY2000 notice of funding availability for the following programs supporting local housing and community development efforts. The SuperNOFA sets out funding availability, eligibility, deadlines and related information. Additional information can be obtained from local HUD offices or through the following address http://www.hug.gov/fundsavl.html-grants.


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February 14, 2000
FY2001 HUD Budget

HUD Budget

Background
HUD unveiled the President's budget request for the department for FY 2001 declaring it "the strongest HUD budget in more than 20 years, with increases in every program area." The President's budget requests $32.1 billion for HUD which is $6 billion, or 22 percent, more than the present funding level. Of the $6 billion, $2.37 billion is needed to renew expiring Section 8 and homeless Shelter Plus Care contracts.

The budget calls for 120,000 new incremental housing vouchers. This is double the 60,000 enacted for this year and more than double the 50,000 for last year. These new vouchers are important because between the years 1994 through 1998 no new Section 8 vouchers were added to the program, and in 1998 alone, more than 17,000 subsidized units left the project-based Section 8 program.

The budget includes several new initiatives. HUD is proposing a $20 million Community and Interfaith Partnerships Initiative to help community and faith-based organizations in their efforts to supply affordable housing, create economic opportunity, promote the goal of fair housing, and increase the effectiveness of HUD programs like Section 8 vouchers. This program would be funded through a CDBG setaside, with a portion of the funds awarded competitively and a portion administered directly by HUD to conduct training and capacity-building activities.

Another proposal calls for $22 million for the Mississippi Delta Economic Development Initiative. The Delta Initiative is a government-wide effort to jump start the economy of that region of the country left behind by the economic boom of the past decade. HUD would work with other Federal agencies using its expertise in housing and economic development to help revitalize the region's economy.
Housing Counseling programs, proposed to receive a 60 percent increase, help low-income people prepare for homeownership. Fair Housing programs help identify, investigate and enforce anti-discrimination laws.

Rural Housing Services Budget

Background
As with the HUD budget, the Administration is proposing an increase in funding for rural housing programs. The total budget for these programs that serve the rural poor is increased from $5.32 billion in FY2000 to $6.14 billion for FY2001. The increase is reflected in basically across-the-board increases.

Funding for the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Direct Loan Program which makes low-interest loans to developers to construct, repair or rehabilitate affordable rural multi-family rental housing, is increased by $6 million. However, this increase is on the heels of a massive reduction in support for the program in the past decade. Funding dropped from around a half billion dollars in the early 1990s to $114 billion for the current fiscal year. Section 521 Rental Assistance that enables the 515 program to serve very low-income families will increase by $40 million if the budget is approved as submitted. The Farm Labor Housing Program which provides low interest loans and grants to public agencies, nonprofits and individuals to construct affordable rental housing for famrworkers will be combined into a single new account.

Tax Cuts and IDAs in the President's Budget

New Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) would use the tax system to encourage and match savings that, after 5 years, could be withdrawn for certain purposes such as home purchase, medical care, or college. Single filers earning up to $12,500 would be eligible for a two-to-one match on up to $100 in savings, with the match rate phasing out from $12,500 to $40,000. Families that do not have tax liability, like a typical family of four earning $25,000, do not benefit from any of the tax incentives to promote savings. In order to ensure that these families also have an incentive to save, the government match will come in the form of a tax credit to the employer or the financial institution for 100 percent of the matching contribution.

The budget requests $25 million for Individual Development Accounts, which can be used to save for a home. In 1998, the President signed into law legislation authorizing a five-year $125 million IDA demonstration program. IDAs are managed by nonprofits which match federal dollars and sometimes collaborate with financial institutions. Persons who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or the Earned Income Tax Credit are automatically eligible.

Status
The next step in the budget process will be for Congress to approve its budget this spring, accepting or rejecting the President's proposals. Budget Committee hearings leading to a budget resolution to set the spending levels in various categories are now underway. Actual funding for specific programs will be determined through the appropriations process this summer and early fall.

Message
Please contact your representatives and ask their support for the President's budget request for HUD for FY 2001, RSAs and IDAs.

Ask that they support the increases proposed for the Rural Housing Services Programs as well. However, more funding is needed for the Sec. 515 Rural Renal Housing Program.

If your Representative or Senator is a member of the Budget Committee listed below, it is especially important that they hear from you in the next few weeks.

Senate Budget Committee

Republican:
Pete Domenici, NM Chairman; Chuck Grassley, IA; Don Nickles, OK; Phil Gramm, TX; Christopher Bond, MO; Slade Gorton, WA; Judd Gregg, NH; Olympia Snowe, ME; Spencer Abraham, MI; William Frist, TN; Rod Grams, MN; Gordon Smith, OR

Democrat:
Frank Lautenberg, NJ Ranking Member; Ernest Hollings, SC; Kent Conrad, ND; Paul Sarbanes, MD; Barbara Boxer, CA; Patty Murray, WA; Ron Wyden, OR; Russell Feingold, WI; Tim Johnson, SD; Richard Durbin, IL

House Budget Committee

Republican:
Saxby Chambliss, GA Speaker's Designee; Christopher Shays, CT; Wally Herger, CA; Bob Franks, NJ; Nick Smith, MI; Jim Nussle, IA; Peter Hoekstra, MI; George P. Radanovich, CA; Charles F. Bass, NH; Gil Gutknecht, MI; Van Hilleary, TN; John E. Sununu, NH; Joseph Pitts, PA; Joe Knollenberg, MI; William "Mac" Thornberry, TX; Jim Ryun, KS; Mac Collins, GA; Zach Wamp, TN; Mark Green, WI; Ernie Fletcher, KY; Gary Miller, CA

Democrat:
John M. Spratt Jr., SC, Ranking Member; Jim McDermott, WA; Lynn Rivers, MI; Bennie G. Thompson, MS; David Minge, MN; Ken Bentsen, TX; Jim Davis, FL; Robert A. Weygand, RI; Eva M. Clayton, NC; David E. Price, NC; Edward J. Markey, MA; Jerry Kleczka, WI; Bob Clement, TN; James P. Moran, VA; Darlene Hooley, OR; Ken R. Lucas, KY; Rush Holt, NJ; Joseph M. Hoeffel III, PA; Tammy Baldwin, WI; Paul Ryan WI; Pat Toomey PA

Questions: Please contact Richelle Friedman, Program and Policy Analyst, at 301-588-8110 or Rfriedman@mcauley.org

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January 28, 2000
Congress Should Reauthorize VAWA, Add a New Transitional Housing Program

Status
The Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate are expected to take up reauthorization of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act within the next three months.

Background
VAWA '94 (Violence Against Women Act 1994) expires this year. Without reauthorization, federal funding cannot be extended past next September for vital domestic violence programs such as emergency shelters and services, law enforcement, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In addition to reauthorizing existing domestic violence programs, McAuley and other advocates believe Congress should add housing legislation allowing domestic violence survivors the ability to move beyond shelters into safe and affordable supportive housing. Such legislation includes housing provisions originally part of VAWA '99 (H.R. 357), BWESSA (S. 1069) and stand-alone bills sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (H.R. 1352) and Senator Robert Torricelli (planned for early introduction this year). Major transitional housing provisions of these bills include: � Authorization of $50 million in 2001 for transitional housing under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11389(a)).

� Funds will be made available by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development only to qualified, nonprofit, non-government organizations on the basis of a national competition and demonstrated need.

� Funds will be used only for the purpose of providing supportive housing and "tenant-based rental assistance, financial assistance for security deposit, first month's rent, or ongoing rental assistance on behalf of individuals of families victimized by domestic violence, stalking, or adult or child sexual assault who have left or are leaving a residence as a result of the domestic violence, stalking, or adult or child sexual assault."

� Recipients must provide a 25% match for supportive services.

� Five percent of funding is set-aside for grants to Indian tribes or Indian tribal organizations.

Message � Call (the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121), write, or e-mail your representatives and senators to let them know that you support VAWA reauthorization.

� Urge senators to co-sponsor the Torricelli housing bill.

� Urge members of the Senate Judiciary Committee-especially Chairman Hatch and Sen. Biden to add a transitional housing provision.

Senate Judiciary Committee Members

Republicans: Orrin Hatch, UT (Chairman); Strom Thurmond, SC; Charles Grassley, IA; Arlen Specter, PA; Jon Kyl, AZ; Mike DeWine, OH; John Ashcroft, MO; Spencer Abraham, MI; Jeff Sessions, AL; Robert C. Smith, NH

Democrats: Patrick Leahy, VT (Ranking); Edward Kennedy, MA; Joseph Biden, Jr., DE; Herbert Kohl, WI; Dianne Feinstein, CA; Russell Feingold, WI; Robert Torricelli, NJ; Charles Schumer, NY

Questions and Comments Contact Makeda Harris, Policy & Reseach Team, McAuley Institute at 301-588-8110 or e-mail mharris@mcauley.org.


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January 7, 2000
1999 Progress Report

Community Reinvestment Act

We won some and we lost some when the Financial Services Modernization Act was signed into law in October. The good news is that the bill did not contain the following Senate provisions, which would have severely crippled the CRA's ability to bring private investment to low-income communities:

� Small bank exemption (an estimated 72 percent of banks in rural areas) from the CRA; � "Safe harbor" to banks with a current CRA rating of "satisfactory" or above, making it nearly impossible for citizens to comment during a merger process on the performance of a large bank's record in their particular area or in the time elapsed since the passing CRA rating was issued.

On the negative side, the new law: � Imposes a new annual reporting requirement on nonprofit groups that enter agreements with banks based on CRA. � Does not apply the CRA to businesses that will be newly authorized to provide mortgages and banking services. � Reduces the frequency of federal CRA examinations. � Does not require public hearings for mergers involving banks above $1 billion in assets.

Questions: Please contact Susan Rees, Director of Policy & Research, at 301-588-8110 or Srees@mcauley.org.

Outcome of FY 2000 HUD Funding

Total funding for HUD for FY 2000 is $26.3 billion, an increase of $800 million or 3 percent over FY 1999 and $1.7 billion less than the President requested. It includes 60,000 incremental Section 8 rental vouchers.

Funding Levels for Selected Programs:

Program FY 1999 Enacted FY 2000 Enacted Percentage of Change Community Development Block Grant $4.75 B $4.8 B + 1 % Section 202 Elderly Housing 660 M 710 M + 7.6 % Section 211 Disabled Housing 194 M 201 M + 3.6 % Economic Development Initiative 225 M 240 M + 6.6 % Public Housing Operating Fund 2.818 B 3.138 B + 11.4 % Homeless Grants 975 M 1.02 B + 4.6% HOME Investment Partnerships 1.6 B 1.6 B Unchanged Rural Housing Economic Develop. 25 M 25 M Unchanged Community Develop. Financial Instit. 95 M 95 M Unchanged Fair Housing 40 M 40 M Unchanged Public Housing Capital Fund 3 B 2.9 B - 3.4 %

The President is preparing his FY 2001 budget that will be released in early February. To confront the current housing crisis, the next federal budget must preserve existing affordable stock and significantly increase new construction and the number of incremental vouchers.

Questions:
Please contact Richelle Friedman, Program and Policy Analyst, at 301-588-8110 or Rfriedman@mcauley.org

Violence Against Women Act

FY 2000 VAWA APPROPRIATIONS After months of budget negotiations, Congress passed its final Omnibus spending bill on November 19th and adjourned for the year. This spending bill included the Commerce, Justice, State and Labor-HHS provisions which fund VAWA programs through fiscal year 2000. While most VAWA programs were level funded for the year 2000, some important victories were achieved. Battered Women's Shelters and Services received a $12.7 million increase in funding, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received an additional $800,000, and Civil Legal Assistance grants were increased by $5 million. (NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund)