Summary: H.R.2716 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (12/06/2001)

Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001 - Encourages all Federal, State, and local departments and agencies and other entities and individuals to work toward the national goal of ending chronic homelessness among veterans within a decade.

(Sec. 4) Expresses the sense of Congress urging Federal agencies to cooperate more fully to address the problem of homelessness among veterans.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Secretary) to ensure that there is assigned at each of the 20 Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices that have the largest homeless veteran populations at least one employee specifically to oversee and coordinate homeless veterans programs. Requires the Secretary to ensure that the number of case managers in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is sufficient to assure that every veteran who is provided a housing voucher under the United States Housing Act of 1937 is assigned to, and able to be seen by, a case manager.

Directs the Secretary, through FY 2005, to make grants for establishing programs, and for expanding or modifying existing programs, to furnish the following services to homeless veterans: outreach, rehabilitation, vocational counseling and training, and transitional housing assistance. Directs the Secretary to provide grant recipients per diem payments for such services. Prohibits such payments unless the grantee's facilities meet applicable fire and safety requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to conduct programs of job training, counseling, and placement services to expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force. Requires a biennial report to Congress. Authorizes appropriations through FY 2006.

Directs the Secretary to provide for appropriate officials of the VHA's Mental Health Service and Readjustment Counseling Service to develop a plan for joint outreach to veterans at risk of homelessness, particularly those being discharged from institutions after psychiatric care, substance abuse treatment, or imprisonment. Requires the plan to be reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans (established in this Act). Requires the Secretary to: (1) carry out an outreach program for homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness; and (2) report on the above plan to the congressional veterans' committees.

Directs the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Labor to carry out, in at least six locations including a penal institution, a demonstration program for determining costs and benefits of providing referral and counseling services to eligible veterans. Requires referral services before, and counseling services after, a veteran is discharged or released from an institution. Terminates such authority four years after program commencement.

Authorizes the Secretary to allow homeless veterans participating in the compensated work therapy program to receive housing through the therapeutic residence program. Authorizes the Secretary to establish up to ten programs to provide domiciliary services to homeless veterans. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to make grants to health care facilities and to grant and per diem providers to encourage the development of programs targeted at meeting special needs of homeless veterans. Provides funding for FY 2003 through 2005.

Outlines conditions under which VHA outpatient dental services and treatment of a dental condition or disability shall be considered medically necessary.

Allows the Secretary to authorize homeless veterans receiving care through vocational rehabilitation programs to participate in the compensated work therapy program.

Directs the Secretary to carry out a program of technical assistance grants to nonprofit community-based groups with experience in providing assistance to homeless veterans. Provides funding for FY 2002 through 2005.

Requires an annual report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees on Department of Veterans Affairs (Department) activities for the provision of assistance to homeless veterans.

Establishes within the Department the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans. Requires the Committee to: (1) review Department services for homeless veterans and identify gaps in such services; (2) recommend options to address such gaps; and (3) report annually to the Secretary on Department programs and activities relating to homeless veterans. Requires the Secretary to: (1) transmit each report to the veterans' committees; and (2) submit within a currently required annual report to Congress a summary of all prior Committee reports and recommendations. Terminates the Committee on December 31, 2006.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Secretary to: (1) support the continuation within the Department of at least one center to monitor the structure, process, and outcome of Department programs addressing homeless veterans; and (2) review each annual assessment received by directors of Department medical centers and regional offices concerning the needs of homeless veterans and consolidate their findings and conclusions in an annual report to Congress.

(Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary to: (1) study the effectiveness during FY 2002 through 2004 of the grant program for homeless veterans with special needs; and (2) report study results to the veterans' committees.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Secretary to: (1) ensure that each Department primary care facility develops and carries out a plan to provide mental health services to veterans; (2) carry out the current comprehensive homeless services program in at least the top 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas; and (3) ensure that each Department medical center develops and carries out a plan to provide treatment to veterans for substance abuse disorders.

(Sec. 9) Requires each disabled veterans outreach program specialist to coordinate employment services and training assistance provided to veterans by entities receiving financial assistance to employ or reemploy veterans.

(Sec. 10) Requires the Secretary, before declaring Department property as excess and disposing of it, to ensure that it is not suitable for the provision of services to homeless veterans by the Department or another entity under an enhanced-use lease. Authorizes the Secretary to waive competitive selection requirements with respect to leased property so used.

(Sec. 11) Amends the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to require the Interagency Council on the Homeless to meet no less often than annually.

(Sec. 12) Amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 to direct the Secretary of Labor to set aside specified amounts for FY 2003 through 2006 for providing, through a supported housing program administered in conjunction with the Department, rental housing assistance to homeless veterans with chronic mental illness or substance abuse disorders.