James Davis
credit: James Davis

The National Coalition for the Homeless is a nonprofit organization located in Washington, D.C. whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in America as we know it. I have been a member and a speaker for the organization for 13 years.

Aside from advocating for, litigating and defending the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness — we testify before and participate in Senate and House committee and subcommittee meetings on Capitol Hill.

On Feb. 22, I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting held at the office of U.S. State Senator Steve Daines of Montana. The meeting was held with Matthew Ketron, CPA, Daine’s legislative assistant. Also in attendance were Kaitlyn Snyder of the National Housing Conference and Clay Kershaw of Enterprise Group, another nonprofit organization.

We discussed certain aspects of the HUD budget and where we would like to see funds appropriated to specific programs like Section 8 (housing vouchers), homeless prevention, rapid-rehousing, low to moderate-income housing and permanent supportive housing.

The proposed budget was due March 1 so that the final budget can be completed by May 2017. However, some of the financial issues were not addressed because HUD — headed by Dr. Ben Carson — is not yet fully staffed at this juncture.

I also spoke about the importance of increasing the budget for Housing First initiatives across the country. It is one of the few programs that has a low recidivism rate when it comes to getting homeless people into society.

As a reminder to my customers and Street Sense supporters, please send your copy to the White House as part of my silent protest. Once again, thank you in advance.

James Davis is an artist and vendor for Street Sense.