Government Shutdown Cancels Scheduled meetings with Senators Casey and Toomey
WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 3, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Weeks ago appointments were made by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania for a statewide collective of advocates and private citizens to meet with the state’s elected federal representatives. More than 50 concerned agency representatives converged on Harrisburg to advocate for their clients. Because the federal government has shut down, non-essential staff persons have been sent home and federal law makes it illegal for them to voluntarily keep this commitment. Those advocates hoping to speak with representatives of Senators Casey and Toomey will go home without being heard.
Jacqueline Rucker, Executive Director Christian Churches United regrets this lost opportunity. Rucker would have liked to have said, “Now even more than before your constituents need this assistance. Our goal was to ask you to preserve and even increase the McKinney Vento funding. But now with the shutdown we’re left in an abyss with an ever-growing problem. You may say two days won’t make a difference. Everyday makes a difference.”
McKinney Vento’s current investment in eliminating homelessness amounts to $4,917 per homeless person in Pennsylvania. Senators Casey and Toomey are being asked to support President Obama’s budget request of $2.381 billion.
According to the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness, Homelessness among families has increased by more than 13% since the great recession of 2008. “Funding to the levels asked for by the president would not eliminate the problem, but would go a long way toward getting that job done,” explained Mac McMahon, Director of Homeless Assistance Programs in Pittsburgh.
“As for this shut down being caused by a desire to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, this shut down seems even more ironic and cruel,” continued Rucker. “I deal everyday with people who are favorably impacted by the Affordable Care Act.”
“We’re talking about homelessness, without funding for homelessness there will be more people out on the street; Without money for healthcare there will be more people out on the streets,” Julia Hoskins, Director of Housing and Homelessness Services, WYCA Greater Harrisburg added. “I’m really disappointed that our legislators are acting carelessly. By taking away my opportunity to speak to their staff members they silence the voices of their constituents for whom I am advocating.”