On September 10, Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the “Together We Care Act of 2015.” The bill would establish a demonstration program to provide home health care service training to public housing residents. Ms. Velázquez introduced similar legislation in 2009 during the 111th Congress.
Under the program, residents would receive training to provide services to other public housing residents who are disabled or elderly and who need home-based health services. The bill cites a shortage of health care training programs for home-based care and notes that those services are particularly limited for residents of public housing.
The bill would authorize $2.5 million annually over the next three fiscal years to provide grants to public housing agencies, community health care agencies, faith-based organizations, and labor groups to create employment training programs for program participants on providing an array of resident services like in-home health care, transportation services, and child care.
Grants would be awarded based upon the number of persons to be served who are over 62 years of age, the number of persons to be served who are disabled residents, and the number of people to be trained who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Grantees would have to demonstrate the ability to provide high-quality care through their training.
To encourage trainees to increase their incomes without jeopardizing their housing stability, increases in income would not be applied to housing eligibility for the first year. In the second year, 25% of a trainee’s increase in income would be considered in the housing eligibility calculations, going to 50% in year three, and the full amount of a trainee’s income would be applied to the eligibility calculation in the fourth year.
Demonstration projects would serve urban, rural and Indian communities. One pilot program would also serve Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands.