Text: H.R.5960 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/28/2006)


109th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5960


To amend title 38, United States Code, to reauthorize various programs providing for the needs of homeless veterans, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 28, 2006

Mr. Michaud introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to reauthorize various programs providing for the needs of homeless veterans, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Homeless Veterans Assistance Act of 2006”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Comprehensive service programs.

Sec. 3. Treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans.

Sec. 4. Extension of authority for transfer of properties obtained through foreclosure of home mortgages.

Sec. 5. Enhancement of capacity of domiciliary care programs for female veterans.

Sec. 6. Grant program for homeless veterans with special needs.

Sec. 7.  Expansion of eligibility for dental care.

Sec. 8. Authorization of appropriations for technical assistance grant program.

Sec. 9. Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.

Sec. 10. Staffing requirements.

Sec. 11. Emergency grants for replacement or repair of homeless veteran facilities.

Sec. 12. Supportive services grants for very low-income veterans residing in permanent housing.

Sec. 13. Demonstration program on preventing veterans at-risk of homelessness from becoming homeless.

Sec. 14. Permanent authority for program of referral and counseling services for at-risk veterans transitioning from certain institutions.

SEC. 2. Comprehensive service programs.

(a) Extension of grant program authority.—Section 2011(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking “expires on” and all that follows and inserting “expires on September 30, 2011.”.

(b) Per diem rate for payments under homeless providers grant program.—Paragraph (2) of section 2012(a) of such title is amended to read as follows:

“(2) The rate for per diem payments under paragraph (1) shall be not less than the rate in effect for per diem payments to State homes for domiciliary care under section 1741(a)(1)(A) of this title.”.

(c) Program performance standards.—Section 2012 of such title is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(d) Program performance standards.—(1) The Secretary shall establish program performance standards for grant recipients and entities that are eligible for payments under subsection (a). The Secretary shall apply those standards in evaluating program performance and outcomes.

“(2) The standards shall include a requirement that each grant recipient or eligible entity, as a condition of payments under subsection (a), document clinical activities and outcomes.

“(3) The program evaluation shall include a review of program performance and evaluation of data with each grant recipient or eligible entity.”.

(d) Financial information.—Section 2012(a) of such title, as amended by subsection (b), is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(3) As condition of payments under subsection (a), the Secretary shall require that each grant recipient or eligible entity receiving such payments shall provide to the Secretary such information as the Secretary considers necessary to verify that such recipient is using the payments under subsection (a) for the provision of services for homeless veterans.”.

(e) Authorization of appropriations for homeless programs.—Section 2013 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(5) $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2011.”.

(f) Availability of grant funds.—Section 2011 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(i) Availability of grant funds for service center personnel.—A grant under this section for a service center for homeless veterans may be used to provide funding for staff as necessary in order for the center to meet the service availability requirements of subsection (g)(1).”.

(g) Deadline for implementing regulations.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations for the implementation of the amendments made by subsections (b), (c), (d), and (f) not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. Treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans.

(a) Extension of general treatment authorization.—Section 2031 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (a), by striking “may provide (directly” and inserting “shall provide (subject to the availability of appropriations and directly” ; and

(2) in subsection (b), by striking “December 31, 2006” and inserting “December 31, 2011”.

(b) Extension of additional services authorization.—Section 2033(d) of such title is amended by striking “December 31, 2006” and inserting “December 31, 2011”.

SEC. 4. Extension of authority for transfer of properties obtained through foreclosure of home mortgages.

Section 2041(c) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking “December 31, 2008” and inserting “December 31, 2011”.

SEC. 5. Enhancement of capacity of domiciliary care programs for female veterans.

Subsection (b) of section 2043 of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“(b) Enhancement of capacity of domiciliary care programs for female veterans.—The Secretary shall take such steps as necessary to ensure that the domiciliary care programs of the Department are adequate, with respect to capacity and with respect to safety, to meet the needs of veterans who are women.”.

SEC. 6. Grant program for homeless veterans with special needs.

(a) Inclusion of veterans in rural areas.—Subsection (b) of section 2061 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by striking “or” at the end of paragraph (3);

(2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (4) and inserting “; or”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(5) residents of rural areas, as determined by the Secretary.”.

(b) Funding.—Subsection (c) of such section is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)—

(A) by striking “Medical Care” and inserting “Medical Services”; and

(B) by striking “fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005” and inserting “fiscal years 2007 through 2011”; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking “for the first three years of operation of the program under this section”.

SEC. 7. Expansion of eligibility for dental care.

Section 2062(b) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in paragraph (2), by striking “, for a period of 60 consecutive days,”; and

(2) by striking paragraph (3).

SEC. 8. Authorization of appropriations for technical assistance grant program.

Subsection (b) of section 2064 of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“(b) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2011 to carry out the programs under this section.”.

SEC. 9. Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.

Section 2066 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by adding at the end of subsection (a)(3) the following new subparagraphs:

“(E) The Executive Director (or a representative of the Executive Director) of the Interagency Council on Homelessness established under section 201 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11311).

“(F) The Under Secretary for Health (or a representative of the Under Secretary designated after consultation with the Director of the Office of Homeless Veterans Programs).

“(G) The Under Secretary for Benefits (or a representative of the Under Secretary designated after consultation with the Director of the Office of Homeless Veterans Programs).”; and

(2) in subsection (d), by striking “December 31, 2006” and inserting “September 30, 2011”.

SEC. 10. Staffing requirements.

Section 2003 of title 38, United States Code, by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(c) VHA Staffing at VISN level.—The Secretary shall ensure that there is at least one full-time employee of the Veterans Health Administration assigned to oversee and coordinate homeless veterans programs at the office of each of the regional health delivery networks, referred to as Veterans Integrated Service Networks, of that Administration.”.

SEC. 11. Emergency grants for replacement or repair of homeless veteran facilities.

(a) Emergency grant authority.—Subchapter II of chapter 20 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 2014. Emergency grants for repair or replacement of homeless veteran facilities

“(a) Authority.—The Secretary may make emergency grants to eligible entities providing care for homeless veterans for the purpose of repairing or replacing facilities used for the provision of such care that are damaged or destroyed by a disaster.

“(b) Eligible entity.—In this section, the term ‘eligible entity’ has the meaning given that term in section 2011(d) of this title.

“(c) Establishment of criteria and requirements.—The Secretary shall establish criteria and requirements for grants under this section and shall publish such criteria and requirements in the Federal Register.

“(d) Disaster.—In this section, the term ‘disaster’ means any hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, drought, fire, explosion, or other catastrophe in any part of the United States which causes, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 20 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2013 the following new item:


“2014. Emergency grants for repair or replacement of homeless veteran facilities.”.

SEC. 12. Supportive services grants for very low-income veterans residing in permanent housing.

(a) Authorization of Financial Assistance.—Subchapter V of chapter 20 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 2044. Financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families residing in permanent housing

“(a) Distribution of Financial Assistance.—(1) The Secretary shall provide financial assistance to eligible entities approved under this section to provide and coordinate the provision of the supportive services for very low-income veteran families residing in permanent housing.

“(2)(A) Financial assistance under this section shall consist of payments for each such family for which an approved eligible entity provides or coordinates the provision of supportive services.

“(B) The Secretary shall establish a formula for determining the rate of payments provided to a very low-income veteran family receiving supportive services under this section. The rate shall be adjusted not less than once annually to reflect changes in the cost of living. In calculating the payment formula under this subparagraph, the Secretary may consider geographic cost of living variances, family size, and the cost of services provided.

“(3) In providing financial assistance under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall give preference to an entity that provides or coordinates the provision of supportive services for very low-income veteran families who are transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing.

“(4) The Secretary shall ensure that, to the maximum extent practicable, financial assistance under this subsection is equitably distributed across geographic regions, including rural communities and tribal lands.

“(5) Each entity receiving financial assistance under this section to provide supportive services to a very low-income veteran family shall notify the family that such services are being paid for, in whole or in part, by the Department.

“(6) The Secretary may require an entity receiving financial assistance under this section to submit a report to the Secretary describing the supportive services provided with such financial assistance.

“(7) In selecting entities to receive financial assistance under this section, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“(b) Application for Financial Assistance.—(1) An eligible entity seeking financial assistance under subsection (a) shall submit to the Secretary an application in such form, in such manner, and containing such commitments and information as the Secretary determines to be necessary.

“(2) An application submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain the following:

“(A) A description of the supportive services proposed to be provided by the eligible entity.

“(B) A description of the types of very low-income veteran families proposed to be provided such services.

“(C) An estimate of the number of very low-income veteran families proposed to be provided such services.

“(D) Evidence of the experience of the eligible entity in providing supportive services to very low-income veteran families.

“(E) A description of the managerial capacity of the eligible entity to—

“(i) coordinate the provision of supportive services with the provision of permanent housing, by the eligible entity or by other organizations;

“(ii) continuously assess the needs of very low-income veteran families for supportive services;

“(iii) coordinate the provision of supportive services with the services of the Department;

“(iv) tailor supportive services to the needs of very low-income veteran families; and

“(v) continuously seek new sources of assistance to ensure the long-term provision of supportive services to very low-income veteran families.

“(3) The Secretary shall establish criteria for the selection of eligible entities to receive financial assistance under this section.

“(4) The Secretary shall establish performance standards for eligible entities who receive financial assistance under this subsection and evaluate eligible entities who receive financial assistance under this subsection as to their performance and outcomes.

“(c) Technical Assistance.—(1) The Secretary shall provide training and technical assistance to eligible entities that receive financial assistance under this section with respect to the planning, development, and provision of supportive services to very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing.

“(2) The Secretary may provide the training described in paragraph (1) directly or through grants or contracts with appropriate public or nonprofit private entities.

“(d) Funding.—Of the amounts available each fiscal year to the Department for Medical Services for veterans, $25,000,000 shall be available in each such fiscal year to carry out the provisions of this section, of which not more than $750,000 may be used to provide technical assistance under subsection (c).

“(e) Definitions.—For the purposes of this section:

“(1) The term ‘very low-income veteran family’ means a veteran family whose income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by the Secretary, except that—

“(A) the Secretary shall make appropriate adjustments to the income requirement under subparagraph (A) based on family size; and

“(B) the Secretary may establish an income ceiling higher or lower than 50 percent of the median income for an area if the Secretary determines that such variations are necessary because the area has unusually high or low construction costs, fair market rents (as determined under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f)), or family incomes.

“(2) The term ‘veteran family’ includes—

“(A) a veteran who is a single person; and

“(B) a family in which the head of household or the spouse of the head of household is a veteran.

“(3) The term ‘consumer cooperative’ has the meaning given such term in section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 1701q).

“(4) The term ‘eligible entity’ means—

“(A) a private nonprofit organization; or

“(B) a consumer cooperative.

“(5) The term ‘homeless’ has the meaning given that term in section 103 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302)).

“(6) The term ‘permanent housing’ means community-based housing without a designated length of stay.

“(7) The term ‘private nonprofit organization’ means any of the following:

“(A) Any incorporated private institution or foundation—

“(i) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual;

“(ii) that has a governing board that is responsible for the operation of the supportive services provided under this section; and

“(iii) that is approved by the Secretary as to financial responsibility.

“(B) A for-profit limited partnership, the sole general partner of which is an organization meeting the requirements of clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A).

“(C) A corporation wholly owned and controlled by an organization meeting the requirements of clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A).

“(D) A tribally designated housing entity (as defined in section 4 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4103)).

“(8) The term ‘supportive services’ means the following:

“(A) Services provided by an eligible entity or subcontractors that address the needs of very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing, including—

“(i) outreach services;

“(ii) health care services, including diagnosis, treatment, and counseling for mental health and substance abuse disorders and for post-traumatic stress disorder, if such services are not readily available through the Department medical center serving the geographic area in which the veteran family is housed;

“(iii) habilitation and rehabilitation services;

“(iv) case management services;

“(v) daily living services;

“(vi) personal financial planning;

“(vii) transportation services;

“(viii) vocational counseling;

“(ix) employment and training;

“(x) educational services;

“(xi) assistance in obtaining veterans benefits and other public benefits, including health care provided by the Department;

“(xii) assistance in obtaining income support;

“(xiii) assistance in obtaining health insurance;

“(xiv) fiduciary and representative payee services;

“(xv) legal services to assist the veteran family with reconsiderations or appeals of veterans and public benefit claim denials and to resolve outstanding warrants that interfere with the family’s ability to obtain or retain housing or supportive services;

“(xvi) child care;

“(xvii) housing counseling;

“(xviii) other services necessary for maintaining independent living;

“(xix) coordination of services described in this paragraph; and

“(xx) other such services as the Secretary determines are necessary to serve the purposes of this subsection.

“(B) Services provided by an eligible entity or subcontractors, including services described in clauses (i) through (xx) of subparagraph (A), that are delivered to very low-income veteran families who are homeless and who are scheduled to become residents of permanent housing within 90 days of the date on which the service is provided pending the location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing.

“(C) Services provided by an eligible entity or subcontractors, including services described in clauses (i) through (xx) of subparagraph (A), for very low-income veteran families who have voluntarily chosen to seek other housing after a period of tenancy in permanent housing, that are provided, for a period of 90 days beginning on the date on which such a family exits permanent housing or until such a family commences receipt of other housing services adequate to meet the needs of the family, but only to the extent that services under this paragraph are designed to support such a family in the choice to transition into housing that is responsive to the individual needs and preferences of the family.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2043 the following new item:


“2044. Financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing.”.

(c) Deadline for implementing regulations.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations for the implementation section 2044 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), not later than nine months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 13. Demonstration program on preventing veterans at-risk of homelessness from becoming homeless.

(a) Demonstration program authorized.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out (subject to the availability of appropriations) a demonstration program for the purpose of—

(1) identifying members of the Armed Forces on active duty who are at risk of becoming homeless after they are discharged or released from active duty; and

(2) providing referral, counseling, and supportive services, as appropriate, to help prevent such members, upon becoming veterans, from becoming homeless.

(b) Program locations.—The Secretary shall carry out the demonstration program in at least three locations.

(c) Identification criteria.—In developing and implementing the criteria to identify veterans who are at-risk of becoming homeless, the Secretary shall consult with the Interagency Council on Homelessness established under section 201 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11311) and such other officials and experts as the Secretary determine appropriate.

(d) Contracts.—The Secretary may enter into contracts to provide the referral, counseling, and supportive services required under the demonstration program with entities or organizations that meet such requirements as the Secretaries may establish.

(e) Expiration.—The authority of the Secretary under subsection (a) expires on September 30, 2011.

SEC. 14. Permanent authority for program of referral and counseling services for at-risk veterans transitioning from certain institutions.

(a) Program authority.—Subsection (a) of section 2023 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking “a demonstration program for the purpose of determining the costs and benefits of providing” and inserting “a program of”.

(b) Scope of program.—Subsection (b) of such section is amended—

(1) by striking “Demonstration” in the subsection heading;

(2) by striking “demonstration”; and

(3) by striking “in at least six locations” and inserting “in at least 12 locations”.

(c) Extension of authority.—Subsection (d) of such section is amended by striking “shall cease” and all that follows and inserting “shall cease on September 30, 2011.”.

(d) Conforming amendments.—

(1) Subsection (c)(1) of such section is amended by striking “demonstration”.

(2) The heading of such section is amended to read as follows:

§ 2023. Referral and counseling services: veterans at risk of homelessness who are transitioning from certain institutions”.

(3) The item relating to such section in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended to read as follows:


“2023. Referral and counseling services: veterans at risk of homelessness who are transitioning from certain institutions.”.