77th Annual Meeting

PREVENTING AND ENDING FAMILY HOMELESSNESS BY ACCESSING MAINSTREAM RESOURCES THROUGH THE PRESIDENT'S RECOVERY ACT

WHEREAS, Mayors are committed to preventing and ending homelessness for individuals and families in our nation's cities; and

WHEREAS, Mayors are on the front lines of the current economic crisis and the double trouble of foreclosures and job losses impacting our nation's cities; and

WHEREAS, many cities across the country have experienced recent increases in family homelessness, even as the numbers of persons experiencing chronic homelessness shows signs of sustaining the 30% national decrease over 2 years that were first reported in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Federal mainstream benefit programs offer a much deeper pool of resources than targeted Federal homeless assistance to prevent and end the homelessness of families; and

WHEREAS, President Obama and the United States Congress have substantially increased mainstream benefits through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), resulting in greater accessibility of those critical resources when they are needed most; and

WHEREAS, ARRA streamlines and increases access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Food Stamp program by increasing the monthly benefit 13.6%, or $80 per month, per enrolled family, and increases resources that States can use to expand outreach to raise enrollment rates; and

WHEREAS, ARRA increases the amount of Medicaid funds by $15 billion with resources to help pay for the healthcare of families who are struggling during the economic crisis; and

WHEREAS, ARRA provided a one-time payment of $250 to every person receiving Social Security, Veterans, and other benefits; and

WHEREAS, ARRA increases the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families to 45% and increases the income eligibility level by $1,880 for all married couples who file taxes jointly; and

WHEREAS, ARRA sets aside $10 million in new Community Services Block Grant funds for States to fund benefits screening and enrollment services, presenting a new opportunity to hire staff solely dedicated to securing benefit resources on behalf people experiencing homelessness, thereby increasing the often minimal participation of homeless people in mainstream benefit programs; and

WHEREAS, ARRA provides critical new resources for youth, including $70 million for the education of homeless children, $50 million for Youthbuild, $97.5 million for youth mentoring, $250 million for Job Corps, $1.2 billion for youth employment and training programs, and a tax credit to businesses who hire disconnected youth; and

WHEREAS, Mayors and cities across the country have been encouraged by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to expand access and streamline applications for Federal mainstream benefit programs through their 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness, particularly as a means of better assisting homeless families; and

WHEREAS, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has brought together 20 federal agencies, 53 governors of states and territories, and over 1,000 elected officials through over 350 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness with support and assistance to States and Cities to innovate engagement strategies and one stop models to expand access and expedite outcomes for homeless and at risk families and individuals, including Veterans and youth; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages and supports the increased use of Federal mainstream benefit programs to prevent and end the homelessness of families in cities across the country, and encourages Mayors to invest these new resources targeted to jurisdictions and to preventing and ending homelessness in the context of jurisdictional Ten Year Plans, and to adopt engagement and access innovations including one-stops, virtual applications, and Project Homeless Connect; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors commends President Obama and the United States Congress for passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and for investing billions to protect our vulnerable neighbors.