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‘Cromnibus’ Budget Bill Falls Short of Requested Funding for Homeless Assistance

Nina Liss-Schultz

The Cromnibus bill passed includes funding for homeless programs, but provides $300 million less than what was asked for by the administration.

The House on Thursday approved a $1.1 trillion budget to fund the government through September, voting 219-206 in favor of the bill that previously was seen as likely to fail. The bill, known as the “Cromnibus” because of its function as both an omnibus budget and a continuing resolution, includes significantly less funding than was requested for several progressive efforts, including homelessness support and prevention.

The Cromnibus bill passed includes funding for homeless programs, but provides $300 million less than what was asked for by the administration.

The Obama administration this year laid out its plan to aid the homeless for the 2015 fiscal year, asking for more than $5.69 billion for “targeted homeless assistance funding.”

The plan was a 12 percent increase in the budget for homeless advocacy from the year prior, and would have bolstered an existing plan called “Opening Doors,” which includes programs like Housing First, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing, while focusing on ending veteran, family, and chronic homelessness by 2020.

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“President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget clearly demonstrates the high priority this Administration has for achieving the goals of ‘Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,’” wrote the U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless in a fact sheet on how the money should be spent.

But proposals go nowhere without support, said Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, at the time “Opening Doors” was proposed.

“The big question is whether preventing children and families in the U.S. from becoming homeless is important enough to Congress” to warrant increasing homeless-program funding, she said. “In order to achieve these goals, the funding has to be there, and that means the [Obama] administration has to really be firm and advocate.”

The budget bill is now headed to the Senate, where it needs to be approved.

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