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                                                       Calendar No. 49
116th Congress      }                                    {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                    {      116-21

======================================================================



 
    TO PROVIDE FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR HOMELESS OR AT-RISK INDIAN 
                    VETERANS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                 March 28, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

           Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 257]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 257) to provide for rental assistance for homeless or 
at-risk Indian Veterans, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The bill, S. 257, would improve case management services 
and provide housing for eligible Native American veterans who 
are homeless or at risk of homelessness by mandating federal 
agencies to work cooperatively and ensure program 
accountability through Congressional reporting.

                               BACKGROUND

    Congress established the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) 
program as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2008.\1\ The program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) 
rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management 
and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans 
Affairs (VA) through Veterans Administration Medical Centers 
(VAMCs). Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities 
(TDHEs), which do not participate in federal public housing 
rental assistance programs, were unable to participate in the 
HUD VASH program at that time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Pub. L. No. 110-161, 121 Stat. 1884 (2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations 
Act, 2015\2\ (2015 Appropriations Act), Congress authorized 
funding for a demonstration program in order to expand the HUD 
VASH program into Tribal communities. The 2015 Appropriations 
Act directed the Secretary of HUD to coordinate with Indian 
tribes, TDHEs, and other appropriate tribal organizations on 
the design of this program and to ensure the effective delivery 
of housing assistance and supportive services to Native 
American veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Pub. L. 113-235, 128 Stat. 2130 (2014).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since enactment of the 2015 Appropriations Act, the Tribal 
HUD VASH demonstration project has allowed 25 Tribes to house 
over 100 Native veterans. However, Tribes, HUD, and the VA have 
encountered unique issues in the application of this project on 
Indian lands. Most notably, the VA has not been able to recruit 
case workers to provide necessary support services to veterans 
in some remote tribal community locations. Increased 
coordination with additional federal agencies with unique, 
existing footprints in Indian Country, like the Indian Health 
Service, need the authority to be able to participate in and 
could address the VA case worker recruitment challenges and 
would improve implementation of the program. S. 257 would 
address these issues and provide programmatic stability for the 
continued expansion of the Tribal HUD VASH program to serve 
more Tribes and Native veterans experiencing homelessness on 
Indian lands.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    116th Congress. Senator Tester introduced S. 257 with 
Senators Hoeven, Udall, and Isakson on January 29, 2019. The 
bill as introduced reflects refinements incorporated via 
amendment into a related bill from the 115th Congress. The 
Senate referred S. 257 to the Committee the same day. Senators 
Cantwell and Daines joined as co-sponsors on February 5, 2019. 
On February 6, 2019 the Committee held a duly called business 
meeting to consider S. 257 and ordered the bill reported 
favorably to the Senate by voice vote. Senator Warren joined as 
a co-sponsor on February 7, 2019. Senator Cramer joined as a 
co-sponsor on February 12, 2019. No House companion bill has 
been introduced to date.
    115th Congress. Senators Tester, Hoeven, Udall, and Isakson 
introduced S. 1333, a predecessor bill similarly referred to 
the Committee, on June 12, 2017. Senators Murkowski, Cantwell, 
Heitkamp, Franken, Daines, and Smith joined as co-sponsors 
between November 1, 2017, and May 23, 2018.
    On June 13, 2017 the Committee held a legislative hearing 
on S. 1333. At that hearing the Director of the HUD's Office of 
Native American Programs testified in favor of S. 1333. The 
VA's National Director of Clinical Operations--Homeless Program 
Office provided testimony on the clinical implementation of the 
Program to date.
    Two national tribal organizations testified at the hearing. 
The National Congress of American Indians testified in favor of 
S. 1333 and the National American Indian Housing Council 
provided testimony in favor of continuing the tribal HUD VASH 
program. Finally, the President/Chief Executive Officer of the 
Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing 
Authority provided testimony in support of S. 1333.
    On September 13, 2017, the Committee held a duly called 
business meeting to consider S. 1333. Senator Tester offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute to S. 1333. The 
Committee adopted the substitute amendment and ordered the 
bill, as amended, reported favorably by voice vote.
    The substitute amendment incorporated a number of technical 
corrections proposed by the HUD and VA to clarify that the 
Secretary of HUD is authorized to continue funding current 
program recipients and ensure that not less than 5% of Tribal 
HUD-VASH funds are used to fund new Tribal HUD-VASH program 
recipients. Additionally, the amendment required HUD, in 
conjunction with IHS and VA, to provide a report to Congress 
within one year of the enactment of S. 1333 that identifies 
program recipients who find the current application of the 
Indian Housing Block Grant formula funding as a barrier to the 
application of tribal HUD VASH program.
    The Committee reported the bill on December 20, 2017 and 
the Senate placed it on the legislative calendar. On May 23, 
2018, S. 1333 passed the Senate by voice vote. On May 24, 2018, 
the Senate reported S. 1333 to the House of Representatives, 
which referred it to the House Financial Services Committee. No 
further action was taken.
    On November 9, 2017, Representative Ben Ray Lujan 
introduced H.R. 4359, a House companion bill with 
Representative Raul Ruiz as an original co-sponsor. The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Financial Services. No further 
action was taken.
    114th Congress. On November 10, 2015, Senator Tester 
introduced a similar bill, S. 2274, to provide for rental 
assistance for homeless or at-risk Indian veterans with 
Senators Cantwell, Daines, Franken, and Udall as original co-
sponsors. The Senate referred the bill to the Committee, which 
took no further action on the bill. No House companion bill was 
introduced.
    113th Congress. On October 30, 2013, Representatives Kilmer 
and Cole introduced a bill, H.R. 3418, identical to S. 2274 
from the 114th Congress. The House of Representatives referred 
it to the Committee on Financial Services. Representatives 
Daines and Lujan Grisham joined the bill as co-sponsors on May 
29, 2014 and December 11, 2014 respectively. However, the House 
of Committee on Financial Services took no further action on 
the bill that Congress.
    On November 20, 2014, Senator Tester introduced a companion 
bill with Senators Franken, Johnson of South Dakota, Murkowski, 
and Udall as original co-sponsors. The Senate referred it to 
the Committee, which took no further action on the bill.

                          SUMMARY OF THE BILL

    S. 257 formally codifies the Tribal HUD VASH Program as 
part of the underlying HUD VASH statute.\3\ It authorizes HUD 
and the VA to make necessary and appropriate modifications to 
the administration of the program in order to facilitate its 
implementation on Indian lands. In the event of any 
modifications to the program, the bill requires both HUD and VA 
to conduct consultation with Tribes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\42 U.S.C. Sec. 1437f(o)[(19)(2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill also requires the program to be administered in 
accordance with the Native American Housing Assistance and Self 
Determination Act of 1996\4\ and mandates that the IHS work 
cooperatively to provide assistance as requested by the HUD or 
the VA in carrying out the program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\25 U.S.C. Sec. 4101 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill further requires the HUD, VA, and IHS to conduct a 
review of the program's implementation and submit a report to 
the appropriate Committees of the House of Representatives and 
the Senate as identified in the bill.
    Finally, the bill requires that not less than five percent 
of the amounts made available for rental assistance under the 
HUD VASH program be used for this program. This amount is 
consistent with current funding levels for this program.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section cites the short title of the Act as the 
``Tribal HUD-VASH Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Rental assistance

    This section of the bill amends Section 8(o)(19) of the 
United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f(o)(9)) by:
     Defining eligible Indian veteran program 
participants, eligible tribal housing program recipients, 
eligible Indian areas, and eligible Indian housing 
organizations.
     Authorizing the Secretary of HUD to allocate not 
less than five percent of the total HUD VASH program funds for 
the Tribal HUD VASH program.
     Requiring the Secretary of HUD to model the tribal 
HUD VASH program after the rental assistance and veteran 
supported housing program.
     Establishing the funding criteria for the program.
     Requiring the Program to report to the Secretary 
of HUD on utilization and effectiveness of the Tribal 
participants.
     Requiring the Secretaries of HUD and VA to consult 
with Tribes on the design and administration of the Program.
     Instructing the Director of the IHS to provide 
assistance to HUD and VA as requested by the respective 
agencies.
     Authorizing the Secretary of HUD to waive or 
specify alternative requirements for any provision of law, 
except those relating to labor standards and the environment, 
that the Secretary deems necessary in order to effectively 
administer the Program.
     Authorizing the Secretary of HUD to renew Tribal 
HUD VASH program recipients.
     Requiring the Secretary of HUD, in coordination 
with the Secretary of VA and the Director of the IHS, to 
provide a report of the efficacy of the program every 5 years 
to--
            the following Committees of the Senate:
                   D Indian Affairs,
                  D Banking, Housing, and Urban Development,
                  D Veterans Affairs, and
                  D Appropriations; and
            the following Committees of the House of 
        Representatives:
                  D Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska 
                Native Affairs of the Committee on Natural 
                Resources,
                  D Financial Services,
                  D Veterans' Affairs, and
                  D Appropriations.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

                                                    March 18, 2019.
Hon. John Hoeven,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 257, the Tribal HUD-
VASH Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Elizabeth 
Cove Delisle.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.


[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    
    The Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program 
provides rental assistance through grants to Native American 
veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The 
program is jointly operated by the Department of Housing and 
Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA). The Tribal program has received appropriations totaling 
$22 million through 2019 but is not authorized after 2019. CBO 
assumes that the bill will be enacted around the beginning of 
2020.
    S. 257 would require HUD to allocate 5 percent of the funds 
made available for the HUD-VASH program to the Tribal HUD-VASH 
program. The Congress appropriated $40 million for the HUD-VASH 
program in 2019 but that program also is not authorized after 
2019. Assuming the Congress appropriates $40 million for HUD-
VASH in each year over the 2020-2024 period, CBO estimates that 
HUD would allocate about $2 million in each of those years to 
make new tribal grants. Using information from HUD on the pace 
at which tribes are drawing grant funds, CBO expects that 
spending for the Tribal program would occur more slowly than 
for the HUD-VASH program. Thus, CBO estimates that outlays for 
new grants would not occur until 2022.
    The bill also would permanently authorize HUD to set aside 
funds made available for the tenant-based voucher program to 
renew Tribal HUD-VASH grants and would thus effectively 
authorize additional appropriations for that purpose. The 
tenant-based voucher program is permanently authorized for 
whatever amounts are necessary. Based on an analysis of 
information from HUD about the pace of implementing the 
program, CBO estimates that the appropriations already provided 
to date will be sufficient to renew grants through 2021. CBO 
expects that in 2022 HUD would allocate about $6 million from 
the tenant-based account to renew grants. By 2024, that amount 
would increase to $7 million. On that basis, CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 257 would increase spending for the Tribal HUD-
VASH program by $19 million over the 2019-2024 period.
    The estimated budgetary effects of S. 257 are detailed in 
Table 1. The costs of the legislation fall within budget 
function 600 (income security).

                  TABLE 1--ESTIMATED CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER S. 257
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2019      2020      2021      2022      2023      2024    2019-2024
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Authorize Renewals of Grants:
    Estimated Authorization..............         0         0         0         6         6         7         19
    Estimated Outlays....................         0         0         0         6         6         7         19
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Elizabeth Cove 
Delisle. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 257.

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 257 will 
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                 CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW (CORDON RULE)

    On February 6, 2019, the Committee unanimously approved a 
motion to waive the Cordon rule. In the opinion of the 
Committee, it is necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of 
rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate to expedite the 
business of the Senate.

                                  [all]