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H.R. 1227 (110th): Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

3/21/2007--Passed House amended. Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007 - Prohibits the use of any funds authorized by this Act to lobby or retain a lobbyist for the purpose of influencing a federal, state, or local governmental entity or officer.

Title I: Community Development Block Grants - (Sec. 101) Prohibits the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from prohibiting or restricting the use by the state of Louisiana of specified amounts targeted under its Road Home Program for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, based upon a program requirement or condition that: (1) limits or reduces the amount made available to an eligible homeowner who does not agree to remain an owner and occupant of a home in Louisiana; or (2) waives the applicability of certain limitations or reductions for homeowners who are elderly or senior citizens.

Requires the state of Louisiana to report monthly to certain congressional committees regarding the Road Home Program.

Requires states whose household assistance programs have been funded with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster assistance to report to specified congressional committees.

Directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Secretary) to require the state of Louisiana to make available to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority $15 million from certain unexpended funds in order to implement the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Pilot Program.

Declares that the purpose of the Pilot Program is to fund the purchase or costs associated with the acquisition of individual parcels of land in New Orleans, Louisiana, by the Redevelopment Authority, and subsequently sold for the purpose of development by private entities only in accordance with, and subject to, the Orleans Parish Recovery Plan, developed and adopted by the City of New Orleans.

Sets forth certification and development requirements.

Requires the Comptroller General to study and report to certain congressional committees on: (1) the effectiveness and limitations of such pilot program; and (2) expenditures under the Road Home Program of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

(Sec. 102) States that, to the extent specified funds are used by the Louisiana Recovery Authority under the Road Home program, certain statutory procedures preventing duplication of benefits shall not apply with respect to benefits received from hazard insurance, flood insurance, or FEMA disaster payments, unless such inapplicability would result in a windfall gain to any person under the Road Home Program.

(Sec. 103) States that specified CDBG funds previously designated for disaster relief, long-term recovery, and infrastructure restoration in major disaster areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, or Dennis may be used by a state or locality as a matching requirement, share, or contribution for any federal program.

Cites conditions under which environmental review conducted by the FEMA Director shall satisfy the environmental responsibilities that would otherwise be assumed by the state, local government, Indian tribe, or Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

(Sec. 104) Authorizes transfer to the HUD Secretary of certain unobligated disaster relief funds appropriated to FEMA in order to assist metropolitan cities and urban counties that used CDBG amounts previously made available for rental housing assistance for families evacuated from their residences because of such Hurricanes.

Title II: Public Housing - (Sec. 201) Requires the HUD Secretary to provide for, and report to certain congressional committees on, an independent survey of the intentions of New Orleans public housing residents to return to repaired public housing or comparable dwelling units.

(Sec. 202) Requires the Housing Authority of New Orleans (Authority) to make at least 3,000 dwelling units available for occupancy by August 1, 2007, to certain former public housing tenants (right of return).

Prohibits the Authority from preventing such households from occupying a replacement dwelling unit, except as prohibited by federal law. Specifies grounds, particularly criminal offenses, for preventing households from such occupancy. Grants priority for public housing occupancy to employed individuals, or those who agree to contribute toward community service or participate in an economic self-sufficiency program.

(Sec. 203) Prohibits the Authority from demolishing or disposing of any public housing dwelling unit it operates or administers (including any uninhabitable unit or one previously approved for demolition), except pursuant to a replacement plan approved by the HUD Secretary.

(Sec. 204) Prescribes conditions governing ownership transfer and demolition of public housing dwelling units by a public housing agency.

Requires a public housing agency to provide relocation assistance to each household relocated pursuant to a demolition or disposition plan under this Act.

Declares that a public housing agency administering or operating certain covered public housing dwelling units has the obligation to: (1) use its best efforts to locate tenants displaced from public housing as a result of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; (2) provide such residents occupancy in available public housing dwelling units of the agency, and (3) ensure such residents a means to exercise a right of return.

Declares certain project-based voucher limitations inapplicable to project-based vouchers used to comply with a transfer or demolition plan approved by the HUD Secretary.

Prohibits a public housing agency from displacing a tenant from a public housing dwelling unit in a hurricane disaster area that is habitable and administered or operated by the agency unless it provides a suitable and comparable dwelling unit in the same local community.

(Sec. 205) Requires the HUD Secretary to report to certain congressional committees on all public housing projects in the Katrina or Rita disaster areas for which plans exist to transfer ownership to other entities or agencies.

(Sec. 206) Authorizes appropriations for: (1) repair and rehabilitation of the Housing Authority of New Orleans' public housing; and (2) community and supportive services for its public housing residents.

(Sec. 209) Requires any recipient of federal funds under this Act for public housing construction, development, rehabilitation, or repair, to verify that all its employees engaged in such activities: (1) have an immigration status that allows them to legally be so employed; and (2) have a valid form of identification or documentation indicating such status.

Title III: Disaster Voucher Program and Project-based Rental Assistance - (Sec. 301) Extends to January 1, 2008: (1) the HUD Disaster Voucher Program; and (2) the authority of the HUD Secretary to waive specified requirements related to section 8 rental assistance.

(Sec. 302) Instructs the HUD Secretary to make adjustments to voucher allocations under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007 for any public housing agency impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, or Rita, in order to provide adequate funding to adjust for reduced voucher leasing rates and increased housing costs arising from such Hurricanes.

(Sec. 303) Sets forth prerequisites for preservation of project-based housing assistance payments contracts for certain assisted multifamily housing projects damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

(Sec. 304) Authorizes appropriations for FY2008 for: (1) section 8 tenant replacement vouchers; (2) voucher assistance for supportive housing for the elderly, persons with disabilities, or homeless persons; and (3) transfer of funds to the Section 8 Voucher Program to provide voucher assistance.

(Sec. 307) Instructs the HUD Secretary to make a good faith effort to identify all households who are eligible for assistance under a certain Disaster Voucher Program but are not assisted under it.

(Sec. 308) Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on whether federal assistance to households for rental housing in connection with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was wrongfully or erroneously terminated.

Title IV: Damages Arising From FEMA Actions - (Sec. 401) Authorizes appropriations to reimburse landlords for damages resulting from FEMA abrogation of commitments entered into under the city lease program to provide emergency sheltering in response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma of 2005. (Precludes such reimbursement to the extend that the landlord has previously received it under another federal or non-federal program.)

Title V: FHA Single Family Housing - (Sec. 501) Prohibits the HUD Secretary, in the case of certain Hurricane-damaged small family residential properties subject to an FHA insured mortgage, from: (1) denying conveyance of title to the property to the Secretary on the basis of the condition of the property or any failure to repair it; and (2) reducing the amount of such insurance benefits to take into consideration any costs of repairing the property.

Authorizes the HUD Secretary, with respect to property unavailable for conveyance of title, to pay to the mortgagee the full benefits of FHA insurance even though no title is conveyed.

Permits payments of insurance claims for such FHA-insured small residential properties only to the extent or in amounts as have been provided in advance in appropriations Acts for such costs.

Title VI: Fair Housing Enforcement - (Sec. 601) Authorizes appropriations for FY2008-FY2009 for areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Makes 60% of such funds available for private enforcement initiatives by qualified private enforcement fair housing organizations.

Title VII: Improved Distribution of Federal Hurricane Housing Funds for Hurricane Relief - (Sec. 701) Instructs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress about methods of improving the distribution of federal housing funds to assist states with recovery from hurricanes.

Title VIII: Commending Americans for Their Rebuilding Efforts - (Sec. 801) States that Congress commends the actions and efforts by the remarkable individuals and organizations who contributed to the hurricane relief effort, and recognizes that the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region rests on the selfless dedication of private individuals and community spirit.

Title IX: Protection of Households Receiving FEMA Housing Assistance - (Sec. 901) Authorizes appropriations to provide temporary housing assistance until December 31, 2007, including financial and direct assistance, to individuals and households eligible for assistance as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma. Requires extension of such assistance if funds for such purpose are made available.

(Sec. 902) Authorizes appropriations to provide vouchers for section 8 tenant-based rental assistance to eligible individuals and households that received temporary housing financial assistance.

Instructs the HUD Secretary to offer a voucher for rental assistance to eligible households residing in FEMA trailers as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma.

Prohibits the public housing agency administering a voucher for an assisted family from providing rental assistance under it for any other household if the original family becomes ineligible for such rental assistance.

Instructs the HUD Secretary to recapture from the agency any remaining amounts for assistance attributable to such voucher. Prohibits the Secretary from reobligating such amounts to any public housing agency.

Prohibits such voucher from being taken into consideration for purposes of determining any future allocation of amounts for such tenant-based rental assistance for any public housing agency.