U.S. House Acts in Bipartisan, Unanimous Fashion
Approves Legislation to Improve Programs Helping Families & Youth
CSH and our partners were heavily involved in the early stages of H.R. 3700 and the advocacy efforts that followed. The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which passed the U.S. House unanimously last evening, contains provisions that would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of critical rental assistance programs serving extremely low-income households.
Furthermore, H.R. 3700 includes changes to Section 8(x), the federal Family Unification Program (FUP), to make it a more effective housing resource available to young adults who have been involved with foster care. Current statute imposes limitations on the vouchers that target youth who have left foster care. Those restrictions can make it difficult for Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to administer the vouchers in a way that allows young adults to find quality, affordable housing, and the time they may need to engage in meaningful services programming that will result in independent living and long-term housing stability.
Section 110 of H.R. 3700 -- in order to improve FUP-Youth voucher assistance -- specifically:
- Extends the age eligibility for FUP vouchers that serve young adults leaving care from 21 to 24;
- Extends housing assistance for youth receiving the FUP voucher from 18 to 36 months;
- Allows FUP voucher assistance to begin 90 days prior to a young adult leaving foster care (either through emancipation process or aging out), and incorporate the assistance into young adults’ transition plan to reduce lapses in housing;
- Includes language requiring HUD and Health & Human Services to issue joint guidance to both PHAs and PWCAs (public child welfare agencies) on how to improve the referral process for the FUP voucher and identify eligible recipients of FUP, align program goals and reduce lapses in housing for young persons that have been involved in foster care; and
- Allows Public Housing Authorities to project-base Family Unification vouchers.
CSH applauds other language added to H.R. 3700 requiring the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to work with the Secretary of Labor to produce an annual report on interagency strategies to strengthen family economic empowerment by linking housing with essential supportive services such as employment counseling and training, financial growth, childcare, transportation, meals, youth recreational activities and other supportive services.
We also support language in H.R. 3700 making constructive changes to Project-Based Vouchers that will increase the supply of supportive housing for homeless populations.