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Learn what you need to know & what you can do to prevent another shutdown.
Learn what you need to know & what you can do to prevent another shutdown.
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January 31, 2019 | Volume 23, No. 1 | Archives
The Government is Open—Now What?
Last week, we released an FAQ on the partial shutdown including an update on the programs important to the HCH community, tips for talking with clients, and ways to take action. On January 25th, the President and Congress reached an agreement to reopen the Government through February 15th. While this is much needed and welcome, there will be a lasting and damaging impact on the programs we care about. It is possible the government will partially shut down again, pending budget discussions. As a follow-up to our FAQ, here is what we know and what you can do to prevent another shutdown now that the government is reopened:

What We Know:

  • On Health Care and Income: The shutdown did not affect major health programs such as Medicaid and health centers. It also did not affect the Social Security Administration which administers SSI and SSDI. Unfortunately, the shutdown may continue to indirectly affect the private health insurance of many Americans, especially federal employees.

  • On Housing: Employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are back to work this week distributing past due funds that have been backlogged during the shutdown. While we know the shutdown affected housing providers and tenants, the full scope of the damage is not yet known. Our partners at the National Low Income Housing Coalition provided an update following the budget agreement.

  • On Food: Due to the uncertainty of funding, the SNAP (food stamp) program distributed benefits two weeks early for the month of February. March benefits will be distributed on the normal schedule. Hunger advocates around the country are reporting on the adverse impact of the early delivery of benefits. The Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC) was able to distribute funds on a normal schedule.

  • On TANF: During the shutdown, funds were distributed on a normal schedule for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant. On January 24th, the President signed a separate bill that funds the TANF program through June 30th. Now the program will remain stably funded through June even if another shutdown does occur.

What You Can Do:

  • Tell Congress "this can’t happen again!" Tweet, call, or write your members of Congress: let them know how important it is to have a long-term budget passed and update them on how the shutdown affected you and your clients. This is especially crucial if your state has a Republican SenatorFind your elected official.

  • Take action locally! Your members of Congress have local offices, and you can call or set up meetings with staff (office locations will be listed on your Senator’s and Representative’s websites). It is crucial that those impacted by the shutdown share their story to all who will listen.

  • You also can share your concerns or story with us, and we will amplify it through our national advocacy partners and to Congress.

  • Sign your organization on to a letter calling for Congress and the Trump Administration to pass a final spending bill that ensures robust funding for Housing and Community Development.
Introducing Our 2019 Policy Priorities!
Each year the Council’s Policy Team works with Congress and the administration to advocate for human rights and social justice. Our 2019 policy priorities, which serve as the foundation of our work at the federal level, will aim to achieve four goals: 
  • Strengthen Current Health Programs & Establish a Universal Health Plan
  • Reform the Behavioral Health System
  • Guarantee Affordable Housing
  • Reform the Criminal Justice System
Our work balances the need to ensure the current system can respond to immediate needs, while also working to achieve the larger, structural changes needed to ensure full access to health care and housing for all. The Council will continue to support the Health Care for the Homeless community in their local and state advocacy activities, and unify our community’s voice in public policy.
Humor: Single Payer Now!
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Regina Reed, MPH
National Health Policy Organizer
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 
Local Spotlight
Joseph “Cowboy” Benson has been an advocate for the HCH community for decades and a strong partner on our voter registration work. He is currently a board member of the National HCH Council and a community health worker at Healthcare for the HomelessHouston in TX. Cowboy was recently featured in Houston’s Fox26 News and in the Council’s HCH Stories series where he talks about his experience of homelessness and how that translates to his advocacy work nationally and his work as a community health worker in Houston.
Are you or a colleague advocating? Let us know about the advocacy and policy work you’re doing so we can feature it in upcoming editions!
Contact Us
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
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National Heatlh Care for the Homeless Council
PO Box 60427 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
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