Governor Dunleavy’s FY2020 budget Vetoes Continue to Reduce critical state housing and homeless service programs
On June 28, 2019, the Governor announced several line item vetoes which will adversely impact persons and families experiencing homelessness across Alaska. Many programs are expected to close if this critical funding is discontinued resulting in vulnerable Alaskans losing housing and essential services. The budget cuts nearly $10 million from four key programs.
These cuts are not the only cuts that will lead to more Alaskans experiencing homelessness. The cuts to Medicaid, headstart, legal services and other services will disproportionately impact low-income or vulnerable individuals reducing or eliminating successful outcomes of housing programs.
On August 8, 2019 Governor Dunleavy approved SB 2002 (Capital Budget) with partial vetoes
- the Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) received a partial veto, cutting it in half to $3.6 Million. Earlier in the year, the legislature passed and the Governor signed HB40 (Mental Health Bill) which appropriated $950K of Mental Health Trust dollars to HAP, so the total amount of HAP funding available this year will $4.55M. This is critical statewide funding for homeless prevention and shelters. The loss of funds will impact shelter capacity statewide.
- the Alaska Housing Finance Corportation match for Continuum of Care funding was retained at last year’s level. This match allows Anchorage to access more than $4 M of federal funding for local housing and support services.
- the Special Needs Housing Grant (SHNG) increase passed by the legislature was retained securing funds for supportive housing
Other HOUSING PROGRAMS IMPACTED by the budget vetoes
- The Human Services Community Matching Grant (HSCMG) & Community Initiative Matching Grants (CIMGP) funding of $2,248,700 is still eliminated but has been included in HB 2002 which is with the Governor for review and expected to be finalized by August 30, 2019. These programs provide funding to prevent and alleviate challenges for those with serious mental or physical hardships. HSCMG, in particular, is one of the only funding streams to support operations for safety net services like basic shelter and food provision
These funds can only be returned to the budget through a legislative override of the line item veto for each of these programs.
Both Continuums of Care are working together to encourage communication from service and housing providers, community members and those impacted by these cuts. We intend to ensure that Alaskan policymakers understand the collective impact of the proposed cuts. We believe that we must work together to address this shared crisis and welcome your partnership in this critical effort