The House approved by a vote of 230-173 the “Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Demonstration Program (THRIVE) Act” (HR 5735) on June 14. The bill, introduced by Representative Andy Barr (R-KY), would divert 10,000 vouchers, or $83 million, away from the Housing Choice Voucher program to pay for transitional recovery housing for people with substance-use disorders. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Before the House vote on the THRIVE Act, NLIHC sent to lawmakers a coalition letter, signed by 29 national housing, homelessness, behavioral health services, and recovery housing organizations opposing the bill because it would lengthen affordable housing waiting lists for low income families, seniors, people experiencing homelessness, and people leaving substance use treatment or recovery housing.
During debate on the House floor, Representative Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, spoke against the bill. While she lauded Mr. Barr for trying to help people suffering from substance-use disorders, she stated that doing so requires more resources. “[Y]ou cannot do this on the cheap,” she said. “You cannot do this without understanding that rehabilitation costs money. So, while I absolutely applaud the attempt, I want to share with you that [we would be] taking 10,000 vouchers from those who have been waiting in line for years—I am talking about single-family parents with their children who simply are praying and hoping that they can get a voucher so that they can get a decent place to live.”
Lawmakers also approved four amendments to the bill by voice vote. A manager’s amendment was added by Mr. Barr that clarifies selection requirements. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) offered an amendment that would require local governments to authorize which service providers could participate in the demonstration program. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) proposed an amendment to ensure that tribal housing authorities would be eligible to participate in the demonstration. Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) offered an amendment that would remove the requirement to include recommendations for further continuation and expansion of the voucher program in a report to Congress.
Read NLIHC’s letter to Representative Barr opposing the THRIVE Act at: https://bit.ly/2JSMZal