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LSA Washington – June 29, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

Senate Fails to Pass FMAP, Unemployment Insurance, COBRA Funding

A third cloture vote to limit debate on a further revised American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act failed in the Senate on Thursday, June 24, by a vote of 57-41. All Republicans that voted cast no votes, along with Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat from Nebraska. The Senate is expected to set aside this bill and move to a small business jobs bill this week, with future action on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act uncertain at this time.

The Senate's failure to act on the legislation puts the 22 states and the District of Columbia who included the extended enhanced FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage) rate in their FY2011 budgets in a bind, as most state FY2011 budgets go into effect July 1, 2010. It is widely expected that most of these states would be forced to cut spending significantly if the extension is not passed, with health and human services named as a main target of those cuts for many states. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report indicating the amount of funding each state would receive if the enhanced FMAP rate was extended.

LSA is continuing to advocate for the passage of this or any legislation which contains the enhanced FMAP extension, as well as the extension of unemployment insurance and enhanced COBRA subsidies, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the reestablishment of the IRA charitable deduction tax provision. LSA members that support any or all of these provisions are encouraged to send a letter to the editor of their state and local newspapers (click here for a sample letter), as well as continue to contact their Senators (click here for a sample script).

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

ICH Releases Plan to End Homelessness

On Tuesday, June 22, the federal Interagency Committee on Homelessness released Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, a plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015 and homelessness among children, youth and families by 2020. According to the ICH, "The Plan presents strategies building upon the lesson that mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs must be fully engaged and coordinated to prevent and end homelessness, including:

  • Increasing leadership, collaboration, and civic engagement, by a focus on providing and promoting collaborative leadership at all levels of government and across all sectors and strengthening the capacity of public and private organizations by increasing knowledge about collaboration and successful interventions to prevent and end homelessness.
  • Increase access to stable and affordable housing, by providing affordable housing and permanent supportive housing.
  • Increase economic security, expand meaningful and sustainable employment and improve access to mainstream programs and services to reduce financial vulnerability to homelessness.
  • Improve health and stability, by linking health care with homeless assistance programs and housing, advancing stability for youth aging out of systems such as foster care and juvenile justice, and improving discharge planning for people who have frequent contact with hospitals and criminal justice systems.
  • Retool the homeless response system, by transforming homeless services to crisis response systems that prevent homelessness and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing.

The plan was mandated by the HEARTH Act passed in May 2009, and can be accessed at and

LSA's Lutheran Capacity in Volunteerism Survey: Two More Weeks to Complete

This month LSA launched its first ever comprehensive survey on the volunteer engagement practices and experiences of its member organizations. LSA will use the data from the survey to shape the concept for a new volunteerism resource center at LSA, to be established in 2011. A research scientist at Johns Hopkins University designed the survey in collaboration with LSA staff and will translate the results into a comprehensive report that LSA will disseminate to its members in early fall 2010.

A link to the survey was emailed to all CEOs and executive directors in early June. If you haven't done so already, please help us learn about Lutheran volunteerism practices by completing the survey. It can be completed in about twenty minutes. The deadline for completion is July 12, 2010.

From the surveys completed to date, we already see some patterns emerging in the data:

  • Less than half of our member organizations have someone in a designated role of volunteer coordinator or the equivalent.
  • Some of our members have successful models of volunteer engagement that they are willing to share with others.
  • Less than half of our members currently track volunteer engagement information systematically, but nearly all are interested in acquiring volunteer management software to do better tracking.
  • Three-quarters of our members are interested in sharing volunteer resources through email or IM discussions.

If you are unsure whether your organization has completed the survey or if you would like the link to be resent, contact Cynthia Osborne, LSA's VP of Strategic Initiatives via email or at (410) 230-3546. The higher the response rate, the more useful the information, so we want your input and we'll help in any way we can. If you would prefer to complete the survey on the phone, just let LSA know and we will have a staff member call you. Every organization that completes the survey will be automatically entered to win one of two free registrations to the May 2011 LSA Annual Conference in Milwaukee, where volunteerism will be one of the highlighted themes.

House T-HUD Appropriations Markup July 1; Call in Support of Section 202 and 811 Funding

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will meet to mark up the FY2011 T-HUD appropriations bill on Thursday, July 1 at 10:00 AM ET. With the Obama Administration asking all federal agencies to identify programs to cut and their proposed cut for all capital funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities programs, calls in support of maintaining funding for these programs is needed. Representatives on the T-HUD subcommittee include: John W. Olver (D-MA, Chair), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), David E. Price (D-NC), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Marion Berry (D-AR), Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-MI), David R. Obey (D-WI, Ex Officio), Tom Latham (R-IA, Ranking Member), Frank R. Wolf (R-VA), John R. Carter (R-TX), Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH), Jerry Lewis (R-CA, Ex Officio); if any of these Members is your Representative, please call to ask for their support of the Section 202 and Section 811 programs, as well as other federally-funded housing programs important to your organization and community.

Reminder: Free Webinar on Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits July 1

Nonprofit Vote is offering a free Webinar on voter participation basics for nonprofits, the first in a series of leading up to the 2010 elections. To register for the Thursday, July 1, 2:00-3:00 ET Webinar, please click here. Topics will include principles and ideas for voter registration, voter education, engaging the candidates and getting out the vote in the course of ongoing activities. There will be opportunities for question and answers throughout the training.

LSA member organizations are encouraged to participate in this Webinar and to begin planning organizational involvement in the election process. In addition to this series, information on nonprofit engagement in the electoral process can be found on LSA's website.

Look for more information from LSA on this topic in the coming months. In the meantime, please e-mail Lisa Hassenstab or Meg Cooch with any questions.

Upcoming Congressional Recess Schedule; Invite Your Elected Officials to Your Site!

Members of Congress will head back to their home states and districts the week of July 4th for a district work period. This is a great time to meet with your federal elected officials in their offices or at events they will be attending. It is also a great time to plan for and invite your federal elected officials to do a site visit to learn more about your organization while they are home for the month of August. To learn more about hosting your elected officials for a site visit, click here or contact Lisa Hassenstab via email or at 202-626-7932, or Meg Cooch via email or at 202-626-7949.

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