Time is running out for the Senate to take action on the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (H.R. 3700) – send a letter and tweet at your Senators today to urge them to pass this critical bill.
Passed 427-0 by the House on February 2, 2016, H.R. 3700 is non-controversial, common-sense legislation that provides reforms to housing programs that have been debated for years. Unfortunately, the Senate has not yet taken action on this bill.
Here are some sample tweets:
- #HR3700 gives #PHAs more capacity to tackle #poverty and help residents – @SENATOR please act now on this critical legislation
- #HR3700 reduces burdensome regulations while protecting residents – @SENATOR help me serve our community better by passing the bill
- House passed #HR3700 unanimously 4 months ago. @SENATOR please act on #HR3700
- @SENATOR budget cuts and increased regs have hurt our community – help #PHAs serve residents by passing #HR3700
NAHRO has supported many of the reforms within the bill since it was drafted; NAHRO President Steve Merritt testified at a hearing on the bill in October 2015 and NAHRO has joined 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.
This critical legislation provides PHAs with effective tools and mechanisms to improve the operation of their programs and expands the suite of tools available to PHAs to manage and preserve their portfolios.
Specifically, NAHRO supports these provisions of H.R. 3700:
- Capital Replacement Reserves– Using NAHRO language also included in the Senate FY16 Appropriations Bill, 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 change the amount they may project-base from 20 percent of their voucher funding to 20 percent of their authorized voucher allocation, allowing most PHAs to project-base additional units. 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 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. The substitute legislation contains the original HOTMA 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.
- PHA and Local Development Authorities as ESG Subrecipients for Solutions Grants – HOTMA includes statutory language, supported by NAHRO, that would permit any state or local government receiving 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, the VA, and the USICH to collaborate and submit to congress an annual supplemental report on veteran homelessness.