Governor’s FY20 Budget Vetoes to housing and homeless service programs will affect thousands of vulnerable Alaskans
7-29-19 UPDATE: It was a busy day on the hill today as both the House and Senate debated and passed budget bills SB2002 and HB2001. AKCH2 would like to thank the state Legislature for having the tough conversations during this special session and finding compromise in these bills. As you’ve likely read in this morning’s news cycle, both of these bills collectively restored a significant amount of the funding that was cut in the Governor’s line-item budget vetoes earlier this month. The four homeless services line items we have been tracking this legislative cycle (Homeless Assistance Program, Special Needs Housing Grant, Human Services Community Matching Grant, and Community Initiative Matching Grant) were all restored.
This process isn’t over yet. Both of the bills still need to be signed by Governor Dunleavy before funding can be restored. We are encouraging all Alaskans to contact the Governor’s office (907-465-3500) and share how the programs funded by these grants have a positive impact on your community. For more information about these programs, visit our coalition’s advocacy website.
Governor vetoes housing and homelessness grant programs
On June 28, 2019, the Governor announced several line item vetoes which will adversely impact persons and families experiencing homelessness across Alaska. The state Legislature failed to secure enough votes to override the vetoes. Many programs are expected to close when this critical funding is discontinued resulting in vulnerable Alaskans losing housing and essential services. The budget cuts nearly $10 million from four key programs.
These cuts are not the only cuts that will lead to more Alaskans experiencing homelessness. The cuts to Medicaid, senior benefits and other services will disproportionately impact low-income or vulnerable individuals reducing or eliminating successful outcomes of housing programs.
Affected Housing Programs
The Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) will be cut from the legislative approved $8.15 million dollars to $950,000. Thousands of Alaskans will lose access to homeless prevention supports (rental/utility emergency assistance), emergency shelter options, and the ability to be rapidly rehoused in multiple communities.
The Special Needs Housing Grant (SNHG) will be cut from the legislative approved $3.7 million dollars to $1,700,000. SNHG operating dollars and housing vouchers provide long-term rental assistance for seventeen successful housing programs targeting the most vulnerable homeless population.
The Human Services Community Matching Grant (HSCMG) & Community Initiative Matching Grants (CIMGP) funding of $2,248,700 will be eliminated. These programs provide funding to prevent and alleviate challenges for those with serious mental or physical hardships. HSCMG, in particular, is one of the only funding streams to support operations for safety net services like basic shelter and food provision
Both Continuums of Care are working together to encourage communication from service and housing providers, community members and those impacted by these cuts. We intend to ensure that Alaskan policymakers understand the collective impact of the proposed cuts. We believe that we must work together to address this shared crisis and welcome your partnership in this critical effort
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