Our work does not occur within a vacuum. Broad societal forces and legislative policies impact what we do and the families we partner with. To truly impact poverty and increase self-sufficiency, it is important for us to identify policies and legislation that we can effectively support or influence as we carry out our mission of ending homelessness in the most effective way possible. The following report intends to do just that.
We have identified policies that impact our work of ending homelessness at federal, state, and local levels. Regardless of where they originated, most are subject to influence and advocacy at all major levels of government. Further, all of the policies have broad consequences across multiple realms of social service organizations, families, and individuals. Thus, each policy accomplishes a little bit of each of the following, but for the purposes of this report, we have categorized policies into three categories that align with our mission: rehousing, stabilizing, and empowering.
Why it’s important:
- One in every 30 children in the US experienced homelessness last year (2014)
- 42% of homeless in families in KC have children under 6 (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2011)
- In all, Kansas City area districts on both sides of the state line reported between6- 8,000 homeless children in the 2012-13 school year.
- Half of homeless children living in shelters are preschool aged while one-third are elementary school-aged and 14% are middle- and high-school aged (US Department of Education Digest of Education Statistics 2013)
Ensuring that children exposed to trauma and other risks receive high-quality education is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty and preventing them from experiencing homelessness as adults. We support:
- The Child Care Development Block Grant, which will expand access to early child education for low income families
- Provisions in the Elementary and Secondary Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind) that support students experiencing homelessness
- The creation of a funding stream to provide high quality and free Pre-K to all children in Kansas City, Missouri.
Why it’s important:
- Housing costs out-pace wages. A full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent anywhere in the United States.
- The average wait for public housing is 1-3 years and the average wait for a Section 8 Voucher is 35 months.
- Federal support for low-income housing has been cut in half since 1980.
Policies at the local, state and federal levels that positively impact affordable housing opportunities for families experiencing homelessness are central to our policy agenda. We support:
- The retention of Missouri Housing Trust Fund and creative, evidence-based approaches to additional sources of revenue that meet the housing needs of Very Low Income families and individuals.
- The retention of federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as they are a successful and efficient method in facilitating rehabilitation and production of affordable housing for low-income families.
- The National Housing Trust Fund becoming a permanent source of funding, not subject to annual appropriations, as to close the gap between supply and need for affordable housing for low income families.
Why it’s important:
- Among the nation’s working families, 10 million are poor.
- 24 million U.S. jobs (one-fifth of all jobs) do not keep a family of four out of poverty.
- The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour leaves even a single full-time wage earner living below the federal poverty line.
- The poverty rate for single-mother families was 40% in 2013, five times the rate for married-couple families. Only one-third of single mothers receive any child support (2014).
Self-sufficiency is dependent upon working a job with wage that can support a family. We support:
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) due to its bipartisan support, its incentive to work, and the extra income put back into the hands of low-income families and individuals.
Please read through our full Policy Priorities Guide here and familiarize yourself with policies impacting our work. Ways you can get more involved with our advocacy and policy efforts are included, or you can contact Joshua Chittum, Children's Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.531.6725 for more information.
Phone: 816.531.3727 Fax: 816.531.4416
4012-14 Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110
P.O. Box 32697, Kansas City, MO 64171