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H.R. 217 (ih) To amend title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act to ...


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105th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                               H. R. 217

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

To amend title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act to 
    consolidate the Federal programs for housing assistance for the 
   homeless into a block grant program that ensures that States and 
   communities are provided sufficient flexibility to use assistance 
                          amounts effectively.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
105th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 217

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To amend title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act to 
    consolidate the Federal programs for housing assistance for the 
   homeless into a block grant program that ensures that States and 
   communities are provided sufficient flexibility to use assistance 
                          amounts effectively.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Homeless Housing Programs 
Consolidation and Flexibility Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds that--
            (1) the United States faces a crisis of individuals and 
        families who lack basic affordable housing and appropriate 
        shelter;
            (2) assistance from the Federal Government is an important 
        factor in the success of efforts by State and local governments 
        and the private sector to address the problem of homelessness 
        in a comprehensive manner;
            (3) there are a multitude of Federal Government programs to 
        assist the homeless, including programs for elderly persons, 
        persons with disabilities, Native Americans, and veterans;
            (4) many of the Federal programs for the homeless have 
        overlapping objectives, resulting in multiple sources of 
        Federal funding for the same or similar purposes;
            (5) while the results of Federal programs to assist the 
        homeless generally have been positive, it is clear that there 
        is a need for consolidation and simplification of such programs 
        to better support local efforts;
            (6) increasing resources available to reduce homelessness 
        are utilized in the development of services rather than the 
        creation of housing;
            (7) housing programs must be evaluated on the basis of 
        their effectiveness in reducing homelessness, transitioning 
        individuals to permanent housing and self-sufficiency, and 
        creating an adequate plan to discharge homeless persons to and 
        from mainstream service systems;
            (8) effective homelessness treatment should provide a 
        comprehensive housing system (including transitional and 
        permanent housing) and, while not all homeless individuals and 
        families attain self-sufficiency and independence by utilizing 
        transitional housing and then permanent housing, in many cases 
        such individuals and families are best able to reenter society 
        directly through permanent, supportive housing;
            (9) supportive housing activities support homeless persons 
        in an environment that can meet their short-term or long-term 
        needs and prepare them to reenter society as appropriate;
            (10) homelessness should be treated as part of a symptom of 
        many neighborhood and community problems, whose remedies 
        require a holistic approach integrating all available 
        resources;
            (11) there are many private sector entities, particularly 
        nonprofit organizations, that have successfully operated 
        homeless programs;
            (12) government restrictions and regulations may discourage 
        and impede innovative approaches to homelessness, such as 
        coordination of the various types of assistance that are 
        required by homeless persons; and
            (13) the Federal Government has a responsibility to 
        establish partnerships with State and local governments and the 
        private sector to address comprehensively the problems of 
        homelessness.
    (b) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this Act--
            (1) to consolidate the existing housing programs for 
        homeless persons under title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney 
        Homeless Assistance Act into a single block grant program for 
        housing assistance for the homeless;
            (2) to allow flexibility and creativity in rethinking 
        solutions to homelessness, including alternative housing 
        strategies and an improved service sector;
            (3) to provide Federal assistance to reduce homelessness on 
        a basis that requires recipients of such assistance to 
        supplement the federally provided amounts and thereby guarantee 
        the provision of a certain level of housing and complementary 
        services necessary to meet the needs of the homeless 
        population; and
            (4) to ensure that multiple Federal agencies are involved 
        in the provision of housing, human services, employment, and 
        education assistance both through the funding provided for 
        implementation of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance 
        Act and mainstream funding and to encourage entrepreneurial 
        approaches in the provision of housing for homeless people.

SEC. 3. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

    Title I of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (42 
U.S.C. 11301 et seq.) is amended--
            (1) by striking section 102;
            (2) in section 103--
                    (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``the term 
                `homeless' or `homeless individual or homeless person' 
                includes'' and inserting ``the terms `homeless', 
                `individual', and `homeless person' include''; and
                    (B) in subsection (c), by striking ``the term 
                `homeless' or `homeless individual' does not include'' 
                and inserting ``the terms `homeless', `individual', and 
                `homeless person' do not include''; and
            (3) by redesignating sections 103, 104, and 105 as sections 
        102, 103, and 104, respectively.

SEC. 4. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOOD AND SHELTER PROGRAM.

    Section 322 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (42 
U.S.C. 11352) is amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 322. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    ``There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title 
such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 1998, 1999, 
2000, 2001, and 2002.''.

SEC. 5. PERMANENT HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND FLEXIBLE BLOCK GRANT HOMELESS 
              ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--Title IV of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless 
Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11361 et seq.) is amended to read as follows:

  ``TITLE IV--PERMANENT HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND FLEXIBLE BLOCK GRANT 
                      HOMELESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

                    ``Subtitle A--General Provisions

``SEC. 401. PURPOSE; PERFORMANCE MEASURES.

    ``(a) Purpose.--The purpose of the program under this title is to 
provide assistance for permanent housing development for homeless 
persons and promote the development of a comprehensive housing system 
that transitions homeless persons to live as independently as possible, 
including assistance in the form of permanent housing development, 
supportive housing, emergency shelters, supportive services, and 
activities to prevent homelessness.
    ``(b) Performance Measures.--Consistent with the purposes and 
requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the 
programs under this title and the implementation of such programs by 
the Department of Housing and Urban Development shall comply with the 
following performance goals:
            ``(1) The Federal Government shall ensure an effective 
        grant allocation process and sound financial management of the 
        process. Such grant allocation process shall be implemented to 
        ensure that--
                    ``(A) local governments shall work with the 
                appropriate Local Board to create innovative plans 
                sufficient to address the needs of homeless people in 
                their community; and
                    ``(B) all eligible communities receive funds to 
                address the needs of homeless people in such 
                communities through local governments or private 
                nonprofit organizations.
            ``(2) The financial resources provided under this title 
        shall be used effectively to create more low-cost permanent 
        housing and to transition homeless people to self-sufficiency 
        and permanent housing.
            ``(3) The Federal Government shall use the Interagency 
        Council on the Homeless as a vehicle to coordinate services, 
        programs, and funds to promote the transition of homeless 
        people to self-sufficiency in permanent housing.

``SEC. 402. GRANT AUTHORITY.

    ``(a) In General.--The Secretary may make grants as provided under 
this title to eligible grantees for States, metropolitan cities, urban 
counties, and insular areas for carrying out eligible activities under 
subtitles B and C.
    ``(b) Grant Amounts.--Except as otherwise provided under this 
title, amounts for a fiscal year allocated under section 406 shall be 
used as follows:
            ``(1) Insular areas.--Any amounts for the fiscal year 
        allocated under section 406(a) for an insular area shall be 
        used for a grant to the eligible grantee for the insular area 
        for such fiscal year.
            ``(2) Permanent housing development.--Any amounts allocated 
        under section 406(b) for use under subtitle B shall be used for 
        grants under section 406(b)(2) to States, metropolitan cities, 
        and urban counties for such fiscal year.
            ``(3) Flexible block grant homeless assistance.--Any 
        amounts allocated under section 406(c) for a State, 
        metropolitan city, or urban county, shall be used for a grant 
        under section 406(c) to the eligible grantee for the State, 
        metropolitan city, or urban county, for the fiscal year.
    ``(c) Use for Eligible Activities.--Grant amounts provided under 
this title and any supplemental funds provided under section 407 may be 
used only as follows:
            ``(1) Insular area grants.--In the case of a grant under 
        subsection (b)(1) for an insular area, for eligible activities 
        under subtitle C benefiting the insular area.
            ``(2) Permanent housing development grants.--In the case of 
        a grant under subsection (b)(2) to a State, metropolitan city, 
        or urban county, for eligible activities under subtitle B 
        within the State, metropolitan city, or urban county, 
        respectively.
            ``(3) Flexible block grant homeless assistance.--In the 
        case of a grant under subsection (b)(3) for a State, 
        metropolitan city, or urban county, for eligible activities 
        under subtitle C benefiting the State, metropolitan city, or 
        urban county, and carried out only within non entitlement areas 
        of the State, metropolitan city, or county, as applicable.

``SEC. 403. ELIGIBLE GRANTEES.

    ``For purposes of this title, the term `eligible grantee' has the 
following meaning:
            ``(1) Grants for insular areas.--In the case of a grant 
        from amounts allocated under section 406(a) for an insular 
        area, such term means--
                    ``(A) the insular area, or an agency, office, or 
                other entity of the area; or
                    ``(B) to the extent that an entity that is a 
                private nonprofit organization is authorized by the 
                government of the insular area to act as the grantee 
                for the area for purposes of this title, such private 
                nonprofit entity.
            ``(2) Grants for permanent housing development and flexible 
        assistance.--In the case of a grant from amounts allocated 
        under section 406(b) or section 406(c) for a State, 
        metropolitan city, or urban county, such term means--
                    ``(A) the State, metropolitan city, or urban 
                county, respectively, or an agency, office, or other 
                entity of the State, city, or county, respectively; and
                    ``(B) to the extent that a private nonprofit 
                organization is authorized by the government of the 
                State, metropolitan city, county to act as the grantee 
                for the State, metropolitan city, or county, 
                respectively, for purposes of this title, such private 
                nonprofit organization.

``SEC. 404. USE OF PROJECT SPONSORS.

    ``(a) Transfer of Grant Amounts by Grantees.--Eligible activities 
assisted with grant amounts provided under this title may be carried 
out directly by the grantee or by other entities serving as project 
sponsors which are provided such grant amounts by the grantee or a 
subgrantee of the grantee.
    ``(b) Competitive Selection Criteria.--To the extent that a grantee 
does not use grant amounts for eligible activities carried out directly 
by the grantee, the grantee shall select eligible activities for 
assistance and project sponsors to carry out such eligible activities 
pursuant to a competition based on criteria established by the 
Secretary, which shall include--
            ``(1) whether the project sponsor that will carry out the 
        activity is financially responsible;
            ``(2) the ability of the project sponsor to carry out the 

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