WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the Fiscal Year 2016 THUD funding bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will now be considered by the full Senate.
“Through negotiation and compromise, this bipartisan bill makes smart investments in our nation’s infrastructure, helps meet the housing needs of the most vulnerable among us, and provides funding for economic development projects in our communities,” said Senator Collins.
The bill provides funding for many programs that benefit Maine and are among Senator Collins’ highest priorities, including:
- Provisions that provide a greater focus on addressing youth homelessness.
- $33 million to test comprehensive approaches to end youth homelessness.
- $9 million for studies and technical assistance to identify the demographics of homeless youth, assess effective program designs, and improve coordination between the various federal agencies to ensure that youth don’t fall between the cracks as they utilize the numerous programs.
- $20 million for more han 2,500 Family Unification Program (FUP) Vouchers for families or youth exiting the child welfare system.
- Clarification regarding the documentation requirements for youth eligibility in HUD Homeless Programs and to ensure that youth living in unsafe situations are eligible for participation in the homeless assistance programs. ?
“This bill brings a renewed focus and additional funding toward the goal of preventing and ending youth homelessness.” said Senator Collins. “The importance of federal funding to support local efforts has been successfully demonstrated in Maine. New Beginnings in Lewiston, Shaw House in Bangor, and the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland are among those that have used federal resources to connect young people who need food, safe shelter, health services, and educational support with those who can provide these important services.”
This month, Senator Collins hosted U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro to see firsthand how organizations in Maine are working to end runaway and youth homelessness. In April, Senator Collins chaired a THUD Subcommittee hearing to examine efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness. At the invitation of Senator Collins, an alumni of New Beginnings, Brittany Dixon, shared powerful testimony about her experience as part of the New Beginnings program.
- $500 million for TIGER grant funding. The TIGER program was established in 2009 to provide federal assistance for vital transportation projects. To date, Maine has received more than $90 million for highway, bridge, airport, rail, and port projects.
“TIGER grants have been essential to rebuilding our infrastructure, getting our economy moving, creating jobs, and providing increased public safety,” said Senator Collins. “I have worked hard to ensure funding for this program every year since it was first established and I continue to advocate for additional TIGER funding for infrastructure projects across Maine.”
- $50 million for Railroad Safety Grants. The bill includes $50 million for Railroad Safety Grants that will support infrastructure improvements, rail grade crossing safety, and Positive Train Control and other safety technology.
“This bill provides critical investments in rail infrastructure and safety,” said Senator Collins. “Given the recent rail accidents that have occurred nationwide in Philadelphia, Illinois, and West Virginia, additional funding is aimed at helping to ensure a safer rail network.”
Additional highlights of the Senate THUD Appropriations Bill can be viewed here.