Working to End Family Homelessness 
In this edition, we report on a recent  public hearing on  homelessness prevention services, an advocacy  trip to Washington DC, and two new reports .
Dear City Council: Homeless Prevention Strategies are Needed! 

Not everyone needs to or wants to come
PEC's Kathy Desmond with City Council members Allan Domb, Al Taubenberger, and Jannie Blackwell
 into shelter. And yet families are turned away most every day from shelter! 

One strategy that Philadelphia  lacks is a robust prevention program . That's why PEC and service providers recently advocated at City Council. Thanks to Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Councilman Allan Domb, the City now knows why it needs a prevention strategy. 

Families who experienced homelessness, 
youth groups, legal aid, and family service providers shared testimony giving one reason after another why the City should invest in prevention programs. 

View the press conference on Youtube see City Council and formerly homeless moms talk about the need for prevention. 

View the hearing on Youtube: See Council members Allan Domb and Jannie Blackwell discuss the need for prevention.

PIHN's Rachel Falkove addressing the press conference prior to hearing.

WAA's Jeanine Lisitski, VYH's Allison Moore 

JLC's Jennifer Pokempner and Nurse-Partnership Erin Blair
Updates on Advocacy

Reporting on Washington:  There is now no shortage of advocacy needed on Washington DC.

Advocates with Congressman Dwight Evans

Before the federal budget was released, advocates organized by the  Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania  descended on Washington to talk to staff of 12 PA Congressional members. We advocated that Congress (a) m aintain the HUD budget,  (b) p rotect and improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit,  and (c) i nclude housing in any infrastructure proposal.

Advocates with Senator Toomey's housing legislative assistant John Crews.

TAKE ACTION: END HOMELESSNESS - INCREASE VOUCHERS! There is a lot to advocate on the proposed federal budget. First things first - fight for vouchers. At the 'end of the day,' if there isn't any affordable rental housing, ending homelessness becomes impossible. Contact Senators Toomey and Casey and urge them to increase funding for vouchers.

Email the Senators here: 
  • Contact Senator Pat Toomey:
  • Contact Senator Bob Casey:
Advocates with Sen. Casey's staffers Kichelle Webster and Andrew Usyk

In addition, PEC is supporting S. 548. This proposal, called the  Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act , was introduced on March 7th by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). A coalition of  2,000 national, state and local affordable housing stakeholders, including PEC, has expressed strong support for the bill. This bill would strengthen the Low Income Tax Credit (LIHTC). This program helped PEC develop 120 units of affordable housing. Without an improved LIHTC, it is unlikely that we could develop additional affordable housing for families who experience homelessness. 
TAKE ACTION: SUPPORT S. 548: Contact Senators Casey and Toomey and tell them "to support S. 548 by notifying Senators Cantwell and Hatch of your support."
Federal Budget Proposal on Housing and 


Ending homelessness is important to Philadelphia. That is why thousands of participants, formerly homeless persons, volunteers, clergy, staffers, the Mayor, City Council and their staffer s, Congresspersons on both sides of the aisle, corporate and private foundations, media, and so many others spend their time and money toward ending homelessness. This is a community effort.  

Since the Bush Administration, there has been bi-partisan support for the strategy to end homelessness.  We know there continues to be bipartisan support, but the Trump Administration has not proposed a budget consistent with past Congressional support. 

As of this publication date, we do not know everything that might happen with federal funding. We have not read or heard yet h ow much funding is proposed for the Homeless Assistance Grant ($34M for Philadelphia, just under $100M for PA) and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs ($4M for Philadelphia, under $10M for PA), although there is some indication that it will be frozen at FY 2016 levels. This freeze is expected to eliminate some rental assistance. 

Other proposals we do know: 
  • Overall cut to HUD by 13.2 percent, or a $6.2 billion reduction
  • Elimination of the Community Services Block Grant Program, which delivered services to 594 low-income households in Philadelphia with rental assistance in FY '16 through the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services' Emergency Assistance and Response Office to prevent homelessness.
  • Elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps pay utility bills and prevents evictions and homelessness. PEC and agencies throughout the city currently help people with LIHEAP applications. 
  • $4.6 billion increase in discretionary funding to the Veterans Administration budget. Details are not provided, but preventing homelessness is mentioned.
  • Elimination of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness: end of coordination of the 19 federal agencies, a meaningless $4M savings in the federal budget.  
  • Elimination of the Community Development Block Grant, ending $39M for Philadelphia. CDBG funds basic infrastructure projects, i.e, fixing water and sewer lines and promoting economic development, especially in commercial corridors, housing counseling, vacant lot management, job training for at risk youth, small business loans, coordination of community development, and citizen engagement. 
  • Elimination of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which helped PEC build housing. 
  • Public housing funding slashed by $2 billion, or about 30 percent. Such cuts, on top of the 21 percent cut to public housing from 2010 to 2016, virtually eliminates strategies to end homelessness. 
Sources for this article come from CBPP, Enterprise Center, and NAEH. PEC thanks them for their work.
Improving Child Development 
Kathy Desmond, PEC
The Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) project recently held a forum to showcase its activities of its first year.  Funded by The William Penn Foundation, BELL is working to  improve emergency housing environments and how children are being connected to high quality early learning programs in Philadelphia.  The presenters' powerpoints showed levels of  participation of high quality early learning programs by  children who experience homelessness, data from  focus groups of moms in shelter and of providers, next steps , and more.

Dr. J.J. Cutuli, Rutgers

Sara Shaw (U. of Delaware) and Sarah Vrabic (Villanova)

Amanda Atkinson, Senior Director, Early Childhood Initiatives, PHMC

Marsha Basloe, Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development, ACF 


Number of homeless families in Pennsylvania decline! PEC summarized the latest 'Point In Time' Count data on families who experienced homelessness in Pennsylvania. This report can assist advocates in their message about the success of their housing programs. See the chart above.