Senate Passes Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act, President Expected to Sign

The Senate unanimously approved the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015” (H.R. 3700) on July 14. A broad coalition of housing advocates, including NLIHC, have worked to advance versions of this legislation for many years. The House passed H.R. 3700 unanimously in February (see Memo, 2/4). The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) championed the bill, having introduced similar legislation in the Senate in June (See Memo 6/27).

 “This bill takes a common-sense approach to improving our nation's critical affordable housing programs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Menendez, Scott, Blunt, and Coons, seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families will be better able to access the help they need to find an affordable place to call home. At a time when Congress seems more polarized than ever, it is heartening to see Senators from both sides of the aisle come together to unanimously enact important, substantive legislation that will streamline and improve affordable housing programs."

H.R. 3700 will make several important changes to the operation of housing assistance programs:

  • Improves the project-basing of vouchers to increase housing options while ensuring choice.
  • Changes income reviews to allow residents to hold onto 100% of increased earnings from income longer.
  • Imposes housing assistance limits for households with incomes above 120% of the poverty level.
  • Streamlines income deductions, while requiring hardship exemptions for negatively impacted families.
  • Allows for expedited inspection processes for units to be rented with vouchers to quicken local efforts to house families and individuals.
  • Updates the Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) distribution formula.

Learn more about the bill at:

Read Senator Menendez’s press release at: