Padilla, Durbin, Gillibrand Lead Call to Provide At Least $3 Billion for Shelter and Services Program in FY 25

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) led 15 Senators in calling on Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to provide no less than $3 billion in FY 2025 funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Shelter and Services Program (SSP) for humanitarian assistance funding. SSP funding supports state, local, and nonprofit service providers who assist the federal government by providing critical services for asylum seekers released from government custody to continue their immigration cases.

The Senators also urged appropriators to include language that would help increase transparency and fairness while making the program more accessible to new recipients who assist asylees, but who were not previously eligible to receive allocations under the program or its predecessor, the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter-Humanitarian (EFSP-H) program.

Additionally, the Senators asked appropriators to direct FEMA to publicly release its allocation methodology and work closely with SSP recipients to ensure that SSP funding is received in a timely manner.

“In light of federal capacity constraints, the federal government relies on local nonprofit and governmental social service organizations, as well as states and localities, to provide shelter, food, transportation, and support services to asylum seekers arriving at our southern border,” wrote the Senators. “Communities and organizations are on the frontlines of assisting migrants, and resources are being stretched thin as these entities perform federal government functions. This funding remains vitally important as more cities in the United States receive asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants.”

“Given that the federal government has asked states, localities, and nonprofits to perform an essential governmental function, Congress must reaffirm its commitment to these states, localities, and nonprofits by providing significant funding for SSP and by working to ensure that funds are allocated and disbursed to recipients in a transparent and timely manner,” continued the Senators.

In addition to Padilla, Durbin, and Gillibrand, the letter is also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Senator Padilla has been a strong advocate for securing funding for the SSP and EFSP-H programs to assist border communities. In FY24, Padilla helped secure $650 million for SSP. Padilla urged Senate appropriators to include $500 million for the FY 2023 EFSP-H program in appropriations legislation.

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Chair Murray, Vice Chair Collins, Chair Murphy, and Ranking Member Britt:

As you develop the FY 2025 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, we urge you to provide not less than $3 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Shelter and Services Program (SSP) for humanitarian assistance funding, which supports state, local, and nonprofit service providers who are assisting the federal government with providing critical services for asylum seekers.

We also ask that you include language directing the Department to ensure that funding for the SSP program is not limited to entities that previously applied for either SSP funding or funding under its predecessor, the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter-Humanitarian (EFSP-H) Program. Third, we ask that you include report language directing FEMA to publicly release its allocation methodology and to work closely with SSP recipients to ensure that funding for the program is received in a timely manner.

In light of federal capacity constraints, the federal government relies on local nonprofit and governmental social service organizations, as well as states and localities, to provide shelter, food, transportation, and support services to asylum seekers arriving at our southern border. Communities and organizations are on the frontlines of assisting migrants, and resources are being stretched thin as these entities perform federal government functions. This funding remains vitally important as more cities in the United States receive asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants.

Given that the federal government has asked states, localities, and nonprofits to perform an essential governmental function, Congress must reaffirm its commitment to these states, localities, and nonprofits by providing significant funding for SSP and by working to ensure that funds are allocated and disbursed to recipients in a transparent and timely manner. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to engaging with you to reaffirm this commitment.

Sincerely,

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