Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) introduced H.R. 3254, the Affordable Communities Employment Act of 2011, on October 25.
H.R. 3254 would strengthen and expand HUD’s Section 3 program. Section 3, created in the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, requires governments and contractors to ensure that, “to the greatest extent feasible,” lower income people from the metro area in which a HUD-assisted construction project is located get job training and employment opportunities, and that businesses that are largely owned by or that hire significant percentages of lower income people obtain construction contracts.
The bill would require that all recipients of HUD funding give public and subsidized housing residents who live in the area where the funds will be expended priority for employment opportunities created by the funding. Currently, only certain HUD-funded entities must comply with Section 3 requirements, including public housing agencies that administer public housing (and not solely housing choice vouchers) and recipients of more than $200,000 annually from several programs, including CDBG, HOME, NSP I, II, and III, HOPWA, and Emergency Solutions Grants.
The bill would also give priority for HUD funding to contractors with a record of employing low and very low income people for 12 months or longer in connection with previous awards of HUD funds.
Further, the bill would require the HUD Secretary to develop procedures to ensure compliance with the provisions included in the bill and would also require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to be completed that assesses program compliance and outcomes among participants.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.