96-H 9226

Passed in House

Jun. 12, 1996.


WHEREAS, The budget for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development was reduced from $25.7 billion in FY'95 to $19.5 billion in FY'96. The biggest cuts were to public housing ($2 billion cut) and to the incremental Section 8 program, where $2.8 billion were cut and any new Section 8 units were eliminated. These programs combined serve the poorest of the nation's families, with public housing residents earning on average only 17% of area median income nationwide; and

WHEREAS, Federal preferences for needy populations to receive priority for public housing and Section 8 housing have been suspended. Not only are there no new Section 8 certificates or vouchers, but there are planned delays in reissuing existing vouchers. Minimum rents of $25.00-$50.00 have been imposed on tenants of federally subsidized housing, including Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing for the homeless, regardless of the tenants' ability to pay; and

WHEREAS, The President has signed a bill ending Supplemental Security Income payments to individuals with primary diagnoses of alcoholism and substance abuse effective January 1, 1997. According to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, 621 of our fellow citizens will be affected; and

WHEREAS, Homeless individuals and families across the nation are served by HUD McKinney Homeless Assistance Act programs. These funds, which support emergency, transitional and permanent housing for the homeless have been cut by 27% from FY'95 to FY'96. The Emergency Shelter Grant program, for example, will provide only $526,117 in support for shelter and supportive services in Rhode Island, down from $716,000 in FY'96. Adult education for the homeless funds were eliminated in the FY'95 rescissions; and

WHEREAS, In Rhode Island, the CEO Forum, a roundtable of the Chief Executives of non-profit organizations in the Ocean State convened by the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, has issued a report entitled "Sending Our Neighbors to the Streets -- The Impact of Cuts in Federal Programs on Homelessness in Rhode Island", documenting the extensive cuts that have taken place in the FY'96 Federal Budget as they relate to preventing and ending homelessness for Rhode Islanders; and

WHEREAS, The federal cuts that have taken place will increase the risk of homelessness for hundreds of our fellow citizens and make it increasingly difficult for community-based organizations to respond to the need. The report also describes the severe impact of proposed cuts and changes in programs such as Welfare, Medicaid and Public Housing, which the CEO Forum believes would dramatically increase homelessness in our state if they are enacted in their current form; and

WHEREAS, To better educate the public to the gravity of the problem of homelessness in Rhode Island, the CEO Forum has conceived of A Day of Commitment to Ending Homelessness in the hopes that it will result in a greater understanding of the situation, the potential for increased homelessness with federal cuts, and the challenges facing Rhode Island; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby congratulates the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless for its inspirational leadership and dedication in educating the public regarding the spread and dangers of homelessness in the Ocean State. This House is, therefore, only too pleased to lend its support to the Coalition by proclaiming Friday, June 14, 1996 as A Day of Commitment to Ending Homelessness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Tanja Kubas-Meyer, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

As always, your comments concerning this page are welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by!