Bill Requires Section 3 Plan for Some PHAs, Others
H.R. 1670, introduced by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) on April 23, would require a public housing agency (PHA) with a combination of more than 550 public housing units and vouchers to have a Section 3 Action Plan included in its PHA Plan. In addition, other entities applying for more than $200,000 of HUD housing and community development assistance would also have to have a Section 3 Action Plan.
The Section 3 Action Plan would describe the PHA’s or other entity’s planned activities to provide employment, training, and contracting opportunities for public housing residents and other low income residents of the metropolitan area in connection with HUD-assisted housing and community development projects. The Section 3 Action Plan would specify outreach efforts, training programs, employment opportunities, and implementation timelines.
HUD would be authorized under the bill to impose penalties, such as withholding assistance, on PHAs and other entities that do not comply with their Section 3 Action Plans.
The purpose of Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 is to ensure that when HUD assists housing and community development projects, some of the new jobs, training, and contracting opportunities that are created go to low income people and to the businesses that hire them, “to the greatest extent feasible.”
View the full text of H.R. 1670 at http://bit.ly/12PEZJZ.
Bill Would Eliminate Most Federal Surveys
On April 18, Representative Jeffrey Duncan (R-SC) introduced H.R. 1638, the Census Reform Act of 2013. This legislation would repeal the authority of the U.S. government to conduct certain censuses and surveys, including the American Community Survey (ACS). The only data collection still allowed under H.R. 1638 would be the decennial census.
This is not the first attempt by Congress to eliminate the ACS. Last year, the House passed an amendment to eliminate funding for the ACS with the FY13 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill (see Memo, 5/11/2012). Legislation was also introduced in March in both the House and the Senate to make participation in the ACS voluntary (see Memo, 3/15). Those who wish to eliminate or weaken the ACS feel that the Census Bureau is overstepping constitutional bounds by requiring people to answer questions on the ACS. They also believe that the questions are intrusive and that the government does not have the right to ask such personal questions of its citizens.
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey of approximately three million households conducted annually. It provides timely data on the social, economic, demographic and housing characteristics of the U.S. population. The ACS replaced the Census “long form” in 2010 and eliminated the long waiting period for new data between each decennial census. What distinguishes the ACS from other surveys is that it provides these data for even the smallest geographic areas. Data from the ACS help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are spent annually.
The legislation has been referred to the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, and on Agriculture and Appropriations. The bill has six cosponsors as of this writing.
Read the full text of H.R. 1638 at http://1.usa.gov/ZTVcd3.
Rural Definition Bill Introduced in Senate
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, introduced legislation to change census population requirements used to determine rural areas. Committee Ranking Member Michael Crapo (R-ID), and Senators Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R- KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin III (D-WV) have cosponsored the bill, S. 766.
The legislation is part of an ongoing, bi-partisan effort to amend the definition of rural areas and hold harmless existing communities to preserve their program eligibility for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development funding if RD programs solely rely on 2010 Census data. Many once technically “rural communities” have grown since the 2000 Census and would otherwise lose program eligibility. Based on 2010 Census findings, 933 communities across the country will no longer be eligible for housing programs under the RD’s “rural” definition after September 30, the last day of FY13.
Under current law, rural areas are to be classified based on 1990 or 2000 census population data until 2010 census data are received. S. 766 would update and expand the classification requirements. One change would allow rural areas to be classified based on 1990, 2000 or 2010 census data. Another change would allow an area to be classified as rural if it was deemed to be a rural area “any time during the period of beginning January 1, 2000, and ending December 31, 2010,” and would require that these areas continue to be considered rural until the receipt of 2020 census data. Legislation to achieve similar goals was introduced in the House on February 27 by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) (see Memo, 3/8).
S. 766 would also amend current requirements that allow areas with populations over 10,000, but under 25,000, to be considered to be rural, if they are “rural in character.” The measure would increase the upper population from 25,000 to 35,000.
S. 766 was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
View the bill text at http://bit.ly/11LgbBN.
Bills to Address Needs of Homeless Youth Introduced
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced two bills on April 25 to address the needs of families and youth experiencing homelessness: S. 833, the Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act, and S. 834, the Improving Access to Child Care for Homeless Families Act of 2013. Both bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and are cosponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN).
S. 833 would establish a statement of federal policy that “every state and local educational agency shall ensure that each homeless child has access to the same free appropriate public education, including a free public preschool education, as is provided to other children and youths.” Among other provisions, the bill would authorize grants to states to improve identification of homeless children and youths, provide services to these students, and to establish an “Office of the Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths” in a state educational agency.
The bill also authorizes emergency disaster grants to be distributed to local educational agencies to address the educational needs of homeless children and youth after a presidentially declared disaster. The bill would require states to submit a plan to the Secretary of Education about how the state will provide education and services to all homeless children and youths. The bill would also increase existing authorized funding amounts to “help assist with the costs of transportation to the school of origin.”
S. 834 would amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) statute to require states to include in their child care plans how they intend to meet the needs of families experiencing homeless. The bill would require additional outreach to homeless parents providing them with information about child care options, and would ease some enrollment restrictions in child care for homeless children. The bill would create a pilot program that would award grants to up to five states, of no more than $5 million per grant, to implement “promising practices for increasing access to and continuity of child care for homeless children,” and to identify best practices in the field.
View the full text of S. 833 at http://bit.ly/18eqMpB.
View the full text of S. 834 at http://bit.ly/12UpLDC.