Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Save federal housing vouchers for New Orleans (WE DID IT!)

Meg and I haven't blogged in a while, but we've been hard at work. Meg just started a job with Unity of Greater New Orleans (UnityGNO.org) working on homeless advocacy.

But this post is especially important.

The US House of Representatives is voting today on whether or not to include 3000 permanent housing vouchers for New Orleans into its emergency spending bill for Iraq. Out of over $200 BILLION in the total bill, $70 million would go a long way toward the first steps at fixing the still emergency situation on the gulf coast, 2 and a half years after Hurricane Katrina.

Meg's co-worker has a letter published in today's USA Today:
New Orleans homeless deserve more than a mattress under a bridge.

Please call the House leadership and tell them, in just a few words, why you think housing for homeless in New Orleans is just as important as continuing to fund the war.

Contact Information:
The Hon. Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker): (202) 225-4965
The Hon. James Clyburn (Majority Whip): (202) 225-3315
The Hon. David Obey (chair of House Appropriations Committee): (202) 225-3365

I just called, it was much easier and quicker than I thought - 1 min and I was done.

We'll keep you updated on how the vote goes today.

UPDATE 6/19/08 (From Megan's Boss):
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you! You created a mass movement across our entire country to get the House leadership to understand how critically needed rent vouchers are by the most disabled and most vulnerable victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And it worked! Last night we received word that the House leadership granted your request and placed the $73 million in funding for the vouchers in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

You are all heroes! Most of all, I want to thank Senator Mary Landrieu for her trail-blazing leadership of this vital cause; Valerie Keller, co-chair of the Louisiana Supportive Housing Coalition, for her amazing work these past 2 ½ years to garner support on both sides of the aisle for this; Congressman Charlie Melancon for leading the fight on the House side and for holding the leadership’s feet to the fire on behalf of Katrina victims; Governor Bobby Jindal and Paul Rainwater, head of the LRA, for their terrific support; our incredible national partners without whom we absolutely could not have achieved this; Chandra Crawford, for her amazing work these past two weeks; Melville Charitable Trust for launching the supportive housing hurricane recovery initiative; the faith-based community who made the moral case; and caring people all across the country who flooded the leadership and the White House with calls making it clear that the American people believe that the most disabled and vulnerable victims of these disasters need and deserve ongoing housing assistance – and to every single one of you for working your hearts out for this righteous cause. I know I’ve left out the names of many critical partners but I am so excited right now, please forgive me for my omissions!!!

These vouchers save lives – make no mistake.

Martha J. Kegel
Executive Director

UNITY of Greater New Orleans

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