Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee members Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) took a big step this week by introducing S. 3083, which is companion legislation to the House-passed H.R. 3700. Substantially, the bills are the same.
This is a huge victory, but our work is just beginning in the Senate. Contact your Senators today to urge them to take action immediately on S. 3083 – send a letter to your senators and tweet at them (your Senators’ Twitter handles can be found on theirwebsites).
- TY @RoyBlunt @SenatorTimScott @ChrisCoons @SenatorMenendez for #S3083 – I will help you pass this critical legislation @NAHRONational
- #PHAs hit hard by budget cuts, over regulation – S 3083 protects residents, helps #PHAs serve comm better- @SENATOR pass #S3083
- House passed #HR3700 unanimously 4 months ago. @SENATOR please act on #S3083
NAHRO has supported many of the reforms within the bill since it was originally drafted in the House; NAHRO President Steve Merritt testified at a hearing on H.R. 3700 in October 2015 and NAHRO has been working with a coalition of housing stakeholders pushing for the passage of the bill. In April, NAHRO joined the coalition on a letter to Senators urging the quick passage of the legislation.
Specifically, NAHRO supports these provisions of HOTMA (H.R. 3700 and S. 3083):
- Capital Replacement Reserves – Using NAHRO language also included in the Senate FY16 and FY17 Appropriations Acts, HOTMA would allow PHAs to voluntarily establish Capital Fund replacement reserves.
- Subsidy Flexibility – HOTMA would allow for PHAs to transfer 20 percent of their Operating Funds to their Capital Fund, language NAHRO has advocated for strongly over many years.
- Income Review Safe Harbors – HOTMA would allow PHAs to use other federal data to determine income including TANF, Medicaid, and SNAP.
- Project-Based Voucher Program – PHAs would be able to calculate project-based vouchers (PBVs) based on authorized units instead of voucher funding. Additionally, those PHAs that have units targeting homeless individuals and families, veterans, elderly households, disabled households, or units in areas where vouchers are difficult to use, would be permitted to project-base up to 30 percent of those targeted units. In other instances, PHA project-based voucher (PBV) assistance may not exceed 25 percent of the units in a project or 25 units, whichever is greater. In areas where vouchers are difficult to use and in census tracts with a poverty rate of equal to or less than 20 percent, PHAs may provide project-based voucher assistance for up to 40 percent of the units in a project. HOTMA allows PBV contracts and extensions of up to 20 years; allows PHAs to permit site-specific waiting lists managed by owners; and clarifies that PHAs may project-base HUD-VASH and Family Unification Project (FUP) vouchers.
- Extended Family Unification Vouchers – HOTMA would increase the age of eligibility for FUP vouchers from 21 to 24 and make youth who will leave foster care within 90 days and are homeless or at risk of homelessness eligible. S. 3083 contains provisions that would also expand FUP vouchers by allowing eligible youth “who have attained 16 or 17 years” and who have left foster care to remain in the program for up to 36 months.
- PHAs and LRAs as ESG Subrecipients – HOTMA includes statutory language, supported by NAHRO, that would permit any state or local government receiving Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) allocations to distribute all or a portion of its grant funds to PHAs and local redevelopment authorities (alongside private nonprofit organizations).
Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs and an Annual Supplemental Report – HOTMA would create a new position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs that reports directly to the Secretary of HUD and would be responsible for, among other things, ensuring veterans have access to housing programs and homeless assistance, coordinating veteran-related programs at HUD, and serving as a liaison between HUD, the VA, and the USICH, and officials of state, local, regional, and nongovernmental organizations. HOTMA would also require HUD to collaborate on and submit to Congress an annual supplemental report on veteran homelessness.