The Florida Coalition to End Homelessness (FCEH) members stand as one voice to improve policy and increase funding to prevent and end homelessness in the State of Florida.
Legislative Advocacy begins with you! FCEH welcomes you to join our team and advocate for our legislative priorities with your Florida State Representatives and Senators.
FCEH Members provide input and suggestions for each year’s State Legislative Priorities. The approved FCEH priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session are:
|Priority #1:||Increase Homeless Continuum of Care Staffing Grant to $5.2 million.
Ask: Support DCF’s LBR to Increase Homeless Continuum of Care Staffing Grant to $5,205,056
FCEH supports the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Legislative Budget Request (LBR) to support the Continuum of Care (CoC) lead agencies. CoCs continue to incur additional costs to complete the required tasks as outlined in the s. 420.644. The State’s support of the Homeless Staffing Grant is critical to Florida’s CoC system, which draws down and administers over $90 million annually to the State. The Staffing Grant was last increased in 2016 and provides $107,143 to each of the State’s 28 Continuum of Care Lead Agencies to pay for operational expenses. Operating expenses have increased in categories, including salaries, health insurance benefits, office rent, equipment, electricity, internet, telephone, and supplies. On average, each CoC supports three full‐time staff positions with this funding. Many CoC employees have advanced degrees and very specialized technical skills and expertise, however current compensation is limited by budget constraints, leading to high staff turnover, negatively affecting CoC operations. The CoCs have done exemplary work in reducing homelessness over the past five years and without adequate funding to recruit and retain skilled staffing and support operational costs, this momentum will be lost.
|Priority #2:||Support DCF’s LBR to Increase Recurring Homeless Challenge Grant Funding to $15,000,657
Ask: Increase the Homeless Challenge Grant recurring base budget from $3.1 M to $15 M
FCEH supports DCF’s LBR request to increase the recurring base budget for homeless Challenge Grants for the Fiscal Year 2023‐24. Homeless Challenge Grants have been funded by the legislature each year since 2014. Pursuant to s. 420.644(4), Florida Statutes, funding provided for Challenge Grants can be used to support any program, activity, or service outlined in the CoC plan to reduce homelessness. The Challenge Grants provide a flexible source of funding for CoCs and provide an opportunity to serve persons, including families at risk of homelessness that may not meet the strict eligibility requirements for grants received from Federal sources. Allowable activities include emergency shelter, street outreach, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, or homelessness prevention. Challenge Grants are competitively procured through DCF.
|Priority #3:||Support DCF’s LBR to reinstate funding for the recurring Homeless Housing Assistance Grants
Ask: Support reinstating funding for the recurring base budget Homeless Housing Assistance Grants ($1,834,665M)
FCEH Supports DCF’s LBR request for recurring General Revenue funding for the rapid rehousing program, which provides rental assistance/housing services to persons who are homeless to move them into permanent housing. This funding will serve 505 households at an average cost of $3,633 per placement. Rapid rehousing includes housing relocation and stabilization services and short and/or medium-term rental assistance as necessary to help a homeless individual or family move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in that housing. Services that may be provided for individuals receiving rapid rehousing assistance include rental assistance, moving costs, utilities, and housing case management. options to assist persons facing homelessness.
|Priority #4:||Support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Ask: Use all Affordable Housing Trust Fund monies on affordable housing – no sweeps!
FCEH supports the use of all the Affordable Housing Trust Fund monies for housing programs. The State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) and the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL) are highly leveraged, with private sector loans and equity providing $4 to $6 for every dollar of state funding—thus, significantly increasing economic impact. The main cause of homelessness is a shortage of affordable housing. SHIP gives communities the flexibility to invest in shelters and housing for people experiencing homelessness, depending on local needs. In addition, 5% of SAIL funds are set aside for rental developments targeted to people exiting homelessness. These funds are greatly needed to continue to end homelessness for our hard-to-serve clients. Access to affordable housing is key.
Members are encouraged to join the Advocacy Committee. For more information, please email Leeanne Sacino at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Alexis Calatayud introduced SB102. Read the bill and analysis here:
Florida Coalition to End Homelessness (FCEH) has been instrumental in securing recurring Challenge Grant and CoC Staffing Grant contracts. This work has resulted in a three-year unified contract for all CoC staffing, Challenge Grant, ESG, and TANF dollars. These funds are provided directly to all of the Continuum of Care Lead Agencies in the State of Florida. This allows the CoC to plan ahead and to identify and fund homeless programs throughout the State.
FCEH worked with the State Office on Homelessness to reduce the number of homeless contracts to the 27 Lead Agencies. The goal was to move all funding streams to a unified RFA for lead agencies with a 3-year contract. This has resulted in an extension of the expenditure window to a full 12 months year to year. This has also reduced the dollars being returned unspent.
FCEH is a leading voice on state homeless policy. From advocating for improved state policy to analyzing enacted and proposed legislation, FCEH actively engages in the legislative process. FCEH works collaboratively with public, private, and nonprofit partners to develop, analyze, and advocate for policy solutions to end homelessness.
FCEH is a Sadowski Coalition affiliate, one of 30 statewide organizations that agree that the state and local housing trust funds should be used for only one thing: Florida’s housing programs.
The State Housing Initiatives Partnership program (SHIP), provides funds directly to local Governments for eligible activities included in their Local Housing Assistance Plan. We strongly encourage our members to participate in the planning for affordable housing.
The State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL) provides low-interest loans on a competitive basis to affordable housing developers each year. FCEH continues to advocate for the homeless and special needs set-asides. FCEH also advocates for RFP policies for housing projects to have minimum requirements for application. Ensuring access to affordable housing by allowing those with zero income, those with poor credit or eviction histories, or those with criminal backgrounds is an initiative of FCEH to allow those experiencing homelessness to move into housing.