Below is a message from Greg Payne from the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) with information regarding a sign-on letter (NDD Maine Sign on Letter – FY18 Budget) to Maine’s delegation underscoring the importance of non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, and asking that these programs be adequately funded for FY18 by continuing the bipartisan practice of providing relief from sequestration budget cuts, with parity for defense and NDD programs. This would mean that any sequestration relief for defense programs is equally applied to NDD programs – including HUD programs such as Section 8, McKinney Homeless Assistance Grants, HOME, CDBG, and other programs that are vital for people experiencing homelessness. I was hoping that this could be forwarded to the three Regional Homeless Councils, the Maine CoC, and ESAC so that participating agencies have the opportunity to sign-on to the letter, the deadline for which is Wednesday, November 1st. Without Congressional efforts, sequestration would cause HUD to lose somewhere between 10-15B in the FY18 budget, which would mean significant cuts to programs over FY17. To sign on, people can just email Greg with permission to add their organization’s name (). Thank you.
MAHC members and friends:
As we have discussed for many months now, the FY18 federal budget is a seminal issue that will have profound effects on the work we do and the people we serve. In particular, Congress’ upcoming decision on how to handle “sequestration” budget caps will likely determine whether the federal programs which provide key funding for affordable housing development, preservation, rental assistance, public housing, homeless services, weatherization, heating assistance, community development block grants and other key programs will see devastating cuts. It will also determine whether other important non-defense discretionary programs, such as those which ensure that we have clean air and water, nutritional supports for seniors, and public health protections, will see similar harmful reductions.
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition is partnering with other statewide and regional organizations across Maine in an effort to make sure that our Congressional delegation continues to support sequestration relief with parity – that is, relief that is shared equally between defense and non-defense discretionary programs. This principle has helped to ensure that program cuts over the past six years were not even more harmful than they’ve been. How this is addressed in the FY18 budget (currently in a continuing resolution until December 8th) will be a very important moment for our work and our nation’s overall domestic health.
We ask that you please take a moment to read the attached, brief letter to our Congressional delegation and consider signing your company or organization on, by sending me a quick email with your organization’s name and city or town. The deadline for sign-on is 5pm on Wednesday, November 1st. We hope you will also share this email widely with your own colleagues and partners.
This sign-on letter will be delivered to our delegation in November, in an effort to help them understand the widespread, cross-sector support that exists in our state for these critical non-defense discretionary programs.
Thank you for your help, and please let me know if you have any questions!
P.S. This exciting new cross-sector collaboration on federal budget issues includes the following Maine organizations:
- Maine Council on Aging/Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- Natural Resources Council of Maine
- Maine Children’s Alliance
- Maine Association of Public Housing Authority Directors
- Maine Community Action Association
- Maine Public Health Association
- Maine Equal Justice Partners
- United Ways of Maine
- Maine Affordable Housing Coalition
- Island Institute
- Maine Mayors’ Coalition
- Maine Conservation Voters
- Maine Association of Nonprofits
Maine Affordable Housing Coalition
307 Cumberland Avenue
Portland, ME 04101
Direct Dial: 207-245-3341
Office: 207-553-7780 ext. 3341