Summary: H.R.1312 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House (11/20/1989)

Domestic Volunteer Service Act Amendments of 1989 - Title I: National Volunteer Antipoverty Programs - Amends the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (the Act) to revise recruitment, application, and placement procedures and add public awareness and recruitment activities relating to the selection and assignment of volunteers for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).

Requires the Director of the ACTION Agency (the Director) to establish a volunteer placement office within ACTION national headquarters to maintain a central information system for volunteers, projects, and programs. Requires the Director to: (1) appoint a national Administrator of Recruitment and Placement (the Administrator); (2) designate at least one ACTION employee in each region whose primary duty is to assist with recruitment and placement; and (3) hire appropriate support staff.

Requires the Director to provide VISTA volunteers assignments which, to the maximum extent practicable, are consistent with their abilities, experiences, and preferences, and with the needs and preferences of the projects or programs. Requires the Director, whenever feasible and appropriate, to assign low-income community volunteers to serve in their home communities in teams with nationally recruited specialist volunteers. Requires the Director to: (1) try to assign volunteers to serve in their homes or nearby communities; and (2) make national efforts to attract other individuals to serve in VISTA. Requires the Director to consider: (1) community-identified needs which cannot be met in the local area; and (2) individual volunteer desires with regard to geographic placement. Allows a sponsoring organization to recruit VISTA volunteers. Directs the Administrator to give such locally-recruited volunteers priority for placement in the sponsoring organization that recruited them.

Requires the Director to undertake specified recruitment, publicity, and information activities, and to coordinate them with those of the Peace Corps. Includes among such activities publicizing student loan deferment and forgiveness opportunities available to volunteers. Requires attempts to involve former volunteers in information dissemination activities. Requires an annual plan for recruitment of volunteers.

Requires the Director to ensure that, of all VISTA volunteers: (1) at least 20 percent are age 55 or older; and (2) beginning in FY 1991, at least 20 percent are age 18 through 27.

Requires that, beginning in FY 1991, a specified portion of VISTA funds be obligated for public awareness and recruitment activities.

Authorizes the Director to extend the five-year maximum period of service for each VISTA volunteer for up to two additional years in certain circumstances. Allows such extensions to be granted to no more than one percent of volunteers, and only during the FY 1990 through 1993 period.

Raises the maximum monthly stipend for VISTA volunteers from $75 to $90 in FY 1991 and $95 in subsequent fiscal years. Requires the Director to set a subsistence allowance for VISTA volunteers so that: (1) the minimum allowance is no less than 95 percent of the poverty line; (2) the average allowance is no less than 105 percent of such line (excluding allowances for certain higher cost areas); and (3) allowances are adjusted for higher cost areas. Requires the Director to report to appropriate congressional committees on methods for setting such allowances.

Prohibits termination of VISTA assistance to any project or organization solely on the basis of the duration of assistance previously received. Requires case-by-case consideration of renewal applications, taking into account extenuating circumstances preventing attainment of original goals. Requires that new applications from organizations previously receiving assistance be considered on an equal basis with those that have not received assistance, if the proposed project is clearly distinct from the previously assisted activities. Prohibits taking duration of assistance into account in considering applications from intermediary organizations.

Title II: Service-Learning Programs - Renames the Service-Learning Programs under the Act as the Student Community Service Programs.

Title III: Special Volunteer Programs - Limits the amount of any grant or contract under the Special Volunteer Programs. Prohibits funds for such programs for FY 1990 and thereafter from being used for any State office of volunteerism.

Requires the Director to provide assistance for identifying, developing, and disseminating effective literacy materials and programs, by grant or contract, to public and private nonprofit organizations, whose principal purpose is combatting illiteracy and associated problems.

Renames provisions for Special Initiatives as Drug Abuse Education and Prevention Services Activities. Requires the Director to give priority, in awarding grants and contracts for such activities, to projects that serve communities, including those in rural areas, which have not previously received Special Volunteer Programs assistance for drug abuse education and prevention. Requires the Director to provide for evaluation of activities and projects conducted with assistance under such provisions. Requires applications for such grants in excess of a specified amount to describe methods to be used in evaluating the impact of the program and activities on the drug abuse problem within the community.

Title IV: Administration and Coordination - Requires the Director to submit to the Congress within 60 days after the start of each fiscal year a report which includes descriptions of: (1) the annual VISTA recruitment plan; (2) VISTA activities and number of applicants, applicants approved, applicants assigned, and volunteers assigned outside of their home communities; (3) efforts made to involve former volunteers in recruitment and public awareness, numbers of such individuals involved, and the manner of their involvement; and (4) number and location of ACTION Agency employees assigned to VISTA recruitment and public awareness duties.

Requires the Director to evaluate the VISTA Literacy Corps as a separate program at least once every three years.

Title V: Older American Volunteer Programs - Amends title II (Older American Volunteer Programs) of the Act with respect to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the Foster Grandparent Program, and the Senior Companion Program.

Requires the Director to use specified amounts to make, within each National Older American Volunteer Program, grants to support activities that address national problems on a local level. Sets forth award criteria. Authorizes grant use for activities assisting: (1) those with chronic debilitating illnesses such as AIDS; (2) drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment; (3) teenage parents; (4) mentoring of youth needing guidance; (5) adult and school-based literacy; (6) respite care; (7) before- and after-school programs serving children of working parents; (8) boarder babies; (9) child care, especially of children with special needs; (10) developmentally disabled adult individuals (and, when appropriate, involvement of such individuals as volunteers); and (11) volunteer tutoring of educationally disadvantaged children in basic skills on a one-to-one basis. Limits funding of such grants to those years when program funding is increased by a specified amount.

Increases the amount of stipends or allowances under the Foster Grandparent Program. Revises provisions relating to individuals who are not low-income persons serving as volunteers without stipends under such program. Prohibits the Director from coercing any volunteer applicant or grant or contract recipient to engage in specified conduct with respect to such unpaid volunteer positions.

Requires the Director to encourage and facilitate: (1) private organizational efforts to promote National Older American Volunteer Programs; and (2) involvement of older persons as volunteers in such programs. Requires the Director to expend specified funds for special efforts to publicize such programs, including notifying grant and contract recipients of all available information.

Requires the Director to: (1) make appropriate cost-of-living adjustments in Federal financial assistance to meet administrative costs of applicants under National Older American Volunteer Programs, and (2) report annually to specified congressional committees on such adjustments.

Authorizes the Director to approve multiple-year grants or contracts for projects.

Title VI: Literacy - Requires the Director to ensure that records are maintained to indicate the degree of compliance with a requirement that certain funds for the VISTA Literacy Corps supplement and not supplant other specified funds to address the problem of illiteracy.

Authorizes the Director to reassign a consenting VISTA Literacy Corps volunteer to a regular VISTA literacy project. Requires, to the extent practicable, that another VISTA Literacy Corps volunteer be assigned to replace that volunteer.

Requires the Director to assist public and private nonprofit organizations, whose principal purpose is combatting illiteracy and associated problems, to identify, develop, and disseminate literacy materials and programs, with emphasis on the training and use of volunteers. Requires the Director to submit annual summaries of exemplary projects to the national clearinghouse on literacy education.

Authorizes the Director to provide technical assistance to employers who have established or wish to establish worksite literacy volunteer programs and to coordinate such assisted activities with the Department of Education Workplace Literacy programs under the Adult Education Act.

Title VII: General Provisions - Includes among authorized VISTA volunteer assignments work in addressing significant health care problems, including chronic and life-threatening illnesses and health care for homeless individuals, especially homeless children, through prevention, treatment, and community-based care activities.

Makes a technical amendment relating to the loyalty oath or affirmation required of VISTA volunteers.

Raises to 30 percent the limit on the amount of funds which may be used for grants and contracts which directly support volunteers.

Requires that there be three individuals each responsible for one of the older volunteer programs, to report directly to the Assistant Director of the ACTION Agency responsible for the Older Volunteer Programs.

Amends the Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1986 to revise the Community Services Block Grant Program with respect to partnership agreements addressing the needs of the poor. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 for such program. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services annually to: (1) identify new programs for replication; and (2) evaluate and report to specified congressional committees on programs funded under such program.

Title VIII: Authorization of Appropriations - Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1993 for the following National Volunteer Antipoverty Programs: (1) the VISTA volunteer program; (2) the VISTA Literacy Corps; (3) Service-Learning programs; and (4) Special Volunteer programs.

Requires necessary amounts to be available for increasing numbers of years of VISTA volunteer service for FY 1990 through 1993.

Requires the Director to give a reasonable period of advance notice to the relevant congressional committees upon determination that a reallocation is necessary because of insufficient appropriations to carry out VISTA programs. Requires that such reallocation be made from funds for Special Volunteer programs before reallocation from other parts of title I of the Act.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1993 for administration of the Act.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1993 for the following National Older American Volunteer Programs: (1) the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; (2) the Foster Grandparent Program; and (3) the Senior Companion Program.

Title IX: Technical Amendments - Makes technical amendments to the table of contents, headings, and other provisions of the Act.

Title X: Technical Amendments to Other Laws - Makes technical amendments to: (1) the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988; (2) the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974; (3) the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act; and (4) the Missing Children's Assistance Act.