Text: H.R.896 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/17/2005)

[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 896 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 896

 To facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for 
   information and referral on health and human services, including 
              volunteer services, and for other purposes.



                           February 17, 2005

   Mr. Bilirakis (for himself, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Upton, Mr. Shays, Mr. 
Markey, Mr. Inslee, Mr. Allen, Mr. Rush, Mr. Towns, Ms. Slaughter, and 
 Mr. Waxman) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                    Committee on Energy and Commerce


                                 A BILL

 To facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for 
   information and referral on health and human services, including 
              volunteer services, and for other purposes.

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


    This Act may be cited as the ``Calling for 2-1-1 Act of 2005''.


    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Federal Communications Commission has assigned 2-1-
        1 as the national telephone number for telephone service for 
        information and referral on human services, declaring that 2-1-
        1 best satisfies the public interest in allotting the limited 
        resource of this abbreviated number. In 2005, the Commission 
        will assess the widespread utilization of the 2-1-1 telephone 
        number and evaluate whether to continue the assignment of that 
        telephone number for that service.
            (2) The number ``2-1-1'' is an easy-to-remember telephone 
        number that facilitates critical connections between 
        individuals and families seeking services, volunteer 
        opportunities, or both and appropriate human service agencies, 
        including community-based and faith-based organizations and 
        government agencies.
            (3) There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit 
        organizations in the United States. Individuals and families 
        often find it difficult to navigate through a complex and ever-
        growing maze of human service agencies and programs, spending 
        inordinate amounts of time trying to identify an agency or 
        program that provides a service that may be immediately or 
        urgently required and often abandoning the search from 
        frustration or a lack of quality information.
            (4) At the Federal, State, and local levels, government 
        funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully 
        utilized because of a lack of access to and information on such 
        programs by the public. Program administrators have indicated 
        that there is a need for a simple way to connect those eligible 
        for programs with available program resources. 2-1-1 telephone 
        service will reduce the number of inappropriate calls to 
        government offices by directing consumers to the appropriate 
        human services agency, resulting in a more effective use of 
        government services.
            (5) A national cost benefit analysis conducted by the 
        University of Texas estimates a net value to society of a 
        national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first 
        year alone and a conservative estimate of nearly $1,100,000,000 
        over 10 years.
            (6) Many families need information on government and not-
        for-profit services that provide high quality health care, 
        public health information related to bioterrorism threats, 
        mental health services, drug treatment, elder care, help for 
        victims of domestic violence, disaster recovery, and volunteer 
            (7) Individuals often need support, services, or both when 
        suffering emotional distress, having suicidal thoughts or 
        behavior, contemplating violence, or using drugs or alcohol.
            (8) Americans desire to volunteer and become involved in 
        their communities. This desire, together with a desire to 
        donate to organizations which provide human services, are among 
        the reasons to contact a center which provides information and 
        referral on volunteer opportunities and human services. A 
        simple call to 2-1-1 will help a citizen find the volunteer 
        opportunity they seek.
            (9) Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an 
        estimated 400 telephone hotlines were established in New York, 
        New York, for various funds and services, creating a confusing 
        network for victims and volunteers to navigate. A Comptroller 
        General report on charitable aid following the terrorist 
        attacks found that ``families of victims generally believed 
        they had to navigate a maze of service providers in the early 
        months'' and that ``good information about and easy access to 
        available assistance could help survivors in the recovery 
            (10) The 107th Congress recognized the importance of 2-1-1 
        telephone service in community preparedness and response by 
        including use of that telephone number for public information 
        as an allowable use of funds under grants for preparedness and 
        response to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies 
        under section 319C-1 of the Public Health Service Act (42 
        U.S.C. 247d-3a), as added by section 131 of the Public Health 
        Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 
        (Public Law 107-188).
            (11) While 37 percent of the population has access to 2-1-1 
        telephone service in 29 States, inadequate funding prevents 
        access to that telephone service throughout each of the States. 
        2-1-1 telephone service is currently available statewide only 
        in 9 States.
            (12) Rapid deployment nationwide of 2-1-1 telephone service 
        as a means of access to information about and referral on human 
        services requires collaboration among State governments, 
        comprehensive and specialized information and referral centers, 
        including Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, human 
        service organizations and service providers, emergency 
        management and homeland security officials, telephone 
        companies, and other relevant entities.
            (13) 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability 
        of a single repository where comprehensive data on all 
        community services is collected, maintained, and updated 
        regularly, reducing costs and duplication of efforts. The 
        reliable data provided through 2-1-1 telephone service helps to 
        better assess the needs of our communities and to immediately 
        mobilize resources toward those needs.


    (a) Grants Required.--The Secretary of Health and Human Services 
shall award a grant to each State to carry out a program for the 
purpose of making 2-1-1 telephone service available to all citizens in 
the State for information and referral on health and human services, 
including volunteer services. These grant dollars shall not supplant 
existing funding streams or services.
    (b) Grant to Be Available for Each State.--In awarding grants under 
this section, the Secretary shall develop a formula for allocating 
grant amounts among the States so that a grant may be awarded to each 
State seeking a grant.
    (c) Requirement on Share of Activities.--
            (1) Requirement.--A State may not be awarded a grant under 
        this section unless the State ensures that at least 50 percent 
        of the resources of the program funded by the grant will be 
        derived from other sources.
            (2) In-kind contributions.--The requirement in paragraph 
        (1) may be satisfied by in-kind contributions of goods or 
    (d) Lead Entity.--
            (1) In general.--A State seeking a grant under this section 
        shall carry out this section through a lead entity meeting the 
        requirements of this subsection.
            (2) 2-1-1 collaborative.--An entity shall be treated as the 
        2-1-1 Collaborative for a State under this subsection if the 
                    (A) exists for such purpose under State law;
                    (B) exists for such purpose by order of the State 
                public utility commission; or
                    (C) is a collaborative entity established by the 
                State for such purpose from among representatives of--
                            (i) an informal existing 2-1-1 statewide 
                        collaborative, if any, in the State;
                            (ii) State agencies;
                            (iii) community-based organizations;
                            (iv) faith-based organizations;
                            (v) not-for-profit organizations;
                            (vi) comprehensive and specialized 
                        information and referral providers, including 
                        current 2-1-1 call centers;
                            (vii) foundations; and
                            (viii) businesses.
            (3) Requirements for preexisting lead entities.--An entity 
        described by subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2) may be 
        treated as a lead entity under this subsection only if such 
        entity collaborates, to the extent practicable, with the 
        organizations and entities listed in subparagraph (C) of that 
    (e) Application.--
            (1) In general.--The lead entity on behalf of each State 
        seeking a grant under this section shall submit to the 
        Secretary an application therefore in such form as the 
        Secretary shall require.
            (2) Information.--An application on behalf of a State under 
        this subsection shall contain information as follows:
                    (A) Information on the program to be carried out by 
                the lead entity of the State so that every citizen with 
                phone service may dial the 2-1-1 telephone service in 
                order to plan to make available throughout the State 2-
                1-1 telephone service for information and referral on 
                human services, including information on the manner in 
                which the lead entity will develop, sustain, and 
                evaluate the program.
                    (B) Information on the sources of resources for the 
                program for purposes of meeting the requirement in 
                subsection (c).
                    (C) There should be a statewide database available 
                to all citizens as well as all human service programs, 
                through the Internet, that will allow them to search 
                for programs or services that are available according 
                to the data gathered by the 2-1-1 programs in the 
                    (D) Any additional information that the Secretary 
                may require for purposes of this section.
    (f) Subgrants.--
            (1) Authority.--In carrying out a program to make 2-1-1 
        telephone service available throughout a State at no charge to 
        the caller, the lead entity of the State may make subgrants to 
        such persons or entities as the lead entity considers 
        appropriate for purposes of the program, including subgrants to 
        provide funds--
                    (A) for the provision of 2-1-1 telephone service;
                    (B) for the operation and maintenance of 2-1-1 call 
                centers; and
                    (C) for the collection and display of information 
                for the statewide database.
            (2) Considerations.--In awarding a subgrant under this 
        subsection, a lead entity shall consider--
                    (A) the ability of the person or entity seeking the 
                subgrant to carry out activities or provide services 
                consistent with the program;
                    (B) the extent to which the award of the subgrant 
                will facilitate equitable geographic distribution of 
                subgrants under this section to ensure that rural 
                communities have access to 2-1-1 telephone service; and
                    (C) the extent to which the recipient of the 
                subgrant will establish and maintain cooperative 
                relationships with specialized information and referral 
                centers, including Child Care Resource Referral 
                Agencies, crisis centers, 9-1-1 call centers, and 3-1-1 
                call centers, if applicable.
    (g) Use of Grant and Subgrant Amounts.--
            (1) In general.--Amounts awarded as grants or subgrants 
        under this section shall be used solely to make available 2-1-1 
        telephone service for community information and referral on 
        human services to all citizens of the State with phone access, 
        including telephone connections between families and 
        individuals seeking such services and the providers of such 
            (2) Particular matters.--In making 2-1-1 telephone service 
        available, the recipient of a grant or subgrant shall, to the 
        maximum extent practicable--
                    (A) abide by the Key Standards for 2-1-1 Centers as 
                specified in the Standards for Professional Information 
                and Referral Requirements for Alliance of Information 
                Referral Systems (AIRS) Accreditation and Operating 2-
                1-1 Systems; and
                    (B) collaborate with human service organizations, 
                whether public or private, to provide an exhaustive 
                database of services with which to provide information 
                or referral to individuals utilizing 2-1-1 telephone 
            (3) Use of funds.--Amounts of a subgrant under subsection 
        (e) may be used by grantees for Statewide and regional 
        planning, start-up costs (including costs of software and 
        hardware upgrades and telecommunications costs), training, 
        accreditation, public awareness, evaluation of activities, 
        Internet hosting and site development and maintenance for a 
        statewide database, database integration projects that 
        incorporate data from different 2-1-1 programs to a single 
        statewide database, and the provision of 2-1-1 telephone 
    (h) Requirement on Allocation of Grant Amounts.--Of the amounts 
awarded under this section, an aggregate of not more than 15 percent 
shall be allocated for evaluation, training, and technical assistance, 
and for management and administration of subgrants awarded under this 
    (i) Reports.--The lead entity of each State awarded a grant under 
this section for a fiscal year shall submit to the Secretary, not later 
than 60 days after the end of such fiscal year, a report on the program 
funded by the grant. Each report shall--
            (1) describe the program funding by the grant;
            (2) assess the effectiveness of the program in making 
        available to all citizens with phone service State 2-1-1 
        telephone service for information and referral on human 
        services in accordance with the provisions of this section; and
            (3) assess the effectiveness of collaboration with human 
        service resource and referral entitles and service providers.
    (j) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Human services.--The term ``human services'' means 
        services as follows:
                    (A) Services that assist individuals in becoming 
                more self-sufficient, in preventing dependency, and in 
                strengthening family relationships.
                    (B) Services that support personal and social 
                    (C) Services that help ensure the health and well-
                being of individuals, families, and communities.
            (2) Information and referral center.--The term 
        ``information and referral center'' means a center that--
                    (A) maintains a database of providers of human 
                services in a State or locality;
                    (B) assists individuals, families, and communities 
                in identifying, understanding, and accessing the 
                providers of human services and the human services 
                offered by the providers of such services; and
                    (C) tracks types of calls referred and received to 
                document the demands for services.
            (3) State.--The term ``State'' means the several States, 
        the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
        Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of 
        the Northern Mariana Islands.


    (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry 
out this Act, for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, $150,000,000, and for 
each of fiscal years 2008 through 2011, $100,000,000.
    (b) Availability.--Amounts appropriated pursuant to the 
authorization of appropriations in subsection (a) shall remain 
available until expended.