S. 454: Family Self-Sufficiency Act

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Mar 05, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

II

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 454

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 5, 2013

(for himself and Mr. Blunt) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

A BILL

To promote the development of local strategies to coordinate use of assistance under sections 8 and 9 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 with public and private resources, to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Family Self-Sufficiency Act .

2.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

(a)

In general

Section 23 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437u) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)

(A)

by striking public housing and; and

(B)

by striking the certificate and voucher programs under section 8 and inserting sections 8 and 9 ;

(2)

by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

(b)

Continuation of prior mandatory programs

(1)

In general

Each public housing agency that was required to administer a mandatory local Family Self-Sufficiency program on the date of enactment of the Family Self-Sufficiency Act , shall operate such local program for, at a minimum, the number of families the agency was required to serve on the date of enactment of such Act, subject only to the availability under appropriations Acts of sufficient amounts for housing assistance and the requirements of paragraph (2).

(2)

Reduction

The number of families for which an agency is required to operate such local program under paragraph (1) shall be decreased by 1 for each family that, after the date of enactment of the Family Self-Sufficiency Act fulfills its obligations under the contract of participation.

(3)

Exception

The Secretary shall not require a public housing agency to carry out a mandatory program for a period of time upon the request of the public housing agency and upon a determination by the Secretary that implementation is not feasible because of local circumstances, which may include—

(A)

lack of supportive services accessible to eligible families, which shall include insufficient availability of resources for programs under title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.);

(B)

lack of funding for reasonable administrative costs;

(C)

lack of cooperation by other units of State or local government; or

(D)

any other circumstances that the Secretary may consider appropriate.

;

(3)

by striking subsection (i);

(4)

by redesignating subsections (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), and (h) as subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) respectively;

(5)

by inserting after subsection (b), as amended, the following:

(c)

Eligibility

(1)

Eligible families

A family is eligible to participate in a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section if—

(A)

at least 1 adult family member seeks to become and remain employed in suitable employment or to increase earnings; and

(B)

the family resides in a unit assisted under sections 8 or 9.

(2)

Eligible entities

The following entities are eligible to administer a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section:

(A)

A public housing agency administering housing assistance to an eligible family under section 8 or 9.

(B)

The owner or sponsor of a multifamily property receiving rental assistance under section 8, in accordance with the requirements under subsection (l).

;

(6)

in subsection (d), as so redesignated—

(A)

in paragraph (1)

(i)

by striking public housing agency the first time it appears and inserting eligible entity;

(ii)

in the first sentence, by striking the certificate and voucher programs of the public housing agency under section 8 or residing in public housing administered by the agency and inserting sections 8 or 9 ; and

(iii)

by striking the third sentence and inserting the following: Housing assistance may not be terminated as a consequence of either successful completion of the contract of participation or failure to complete such contract.;

(B)

in paragraph (2)

(i)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A)

(I)

in the first sentence, by striking provide and inserting coordinate the provision of; and

(II)

in the second sentence—

(aa)

by striking provided during and inserting for;

(bb)

by striking section 8 or residing in public housing and inserting sections 8 or 9 ; and

(cc)

by inserting , but is not limited to after may include;

(ii)

in subparagraph (D), by inserting or attainment of a GED after high school;

(iii)

by striking subparagraph (G);

(iv)

by redesignating subparagraphs (E), (F), (I), and (J) as subparagraphs (F), (G), (J), and (L) respectively;

(v)

by adding the following after subparagraph (D):

(E)

education in pursuit of a post-secondary degree or certification;

;

(vi)

by adding the following subparagraph after subparagraph (H):

(I)

health and mental health services as needed;

;

(vii)

by adding the following subparagraph after subparagraph (J), as so redesignated:

(K)

homeownership education and assistance; and

;

(viii)

by striking and at the end of subparagraph (J), as so redesignated; and

(ix)

in subparagraph (H), by inserting financial literacy and after training in;

(C)

in paragraph (3), in the second sentence—

(i)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity; and

(ii)

by striking of the agency;

(D)

by amending paragraph (4) to read as follows:

(4)

Employment

The contract of participation shall require participants to seek and maintain suitable employment.

; and

(E)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Nonparticipation

Assistance under sections 8 or 9 for a family that elects not to participate in a local program shall not be delayed by reason of such election.

;

(7)

in subsection (e), as so redesignated—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking whose monthly adjusted income does not exceed 50 percent and all that follows through the period at the end of the third sentence, and inserting shall be calculated under the rental provisions of section 3 or section 8(o), as applicable.;

(B)

in paragraph (2)

(i)

by striking the first sentence and inserting the following: For each participating family, an amount equal to any increase in the amount of rent paid by the family in accordance with the provisions of section 3 or 8(o), as applicable, that is attributable to increases in earned income by the participating family, shall be placed in an interest-bearing escrow account established by the eligible entity on behalf of the participating family. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an eligible entity may use funds it controls under section 8 or 9 for purposes of making the escrow deposit for participating families residing in units assisted under section 8 or 9, respectively, provided such funds are offset by the increase in the amount of rent paid by the participating family.;

(ii)

by striking the second sentence, and inserting the following: All family self-sufficiency programs administered under this section shall include an escrow account.;

(iii)

in the fourth sentence, by striking subsection (c) and inserting subsection (d) ; and

(iv)

in the last sentence—

(I)

by striking A public housing agency and inserting An eligible entity; and

(II)

by striking the public housing agency and inserting such eligible entity; and

(C)

by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:

(3)

Forfeited escrow

Any amount placed in an escrow account established by an eligible entity for a participating family as required under paragraph (2), that exists after the end of a contract of participation by a participant that does not qualify to receive the escrow, shall be used for the purposes of this section in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the Secretary.

;

(8)

in subsection (f), as so redesignated, by striking , unless the income of the family equals or exceeds 80 percent of the median income of the area (as determined by the Secretary with adjustments for smaller and larger families);

(9)

in subsection (g), as so redesignated—

(A)

in paragraph (1)

(i)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity;

(ii)

by striking the public housing agency and inserting such eligible entity; and

(iii)

by striking subsection (g) and inserting subsection (h) ; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)

(i)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity each place that term appears;

(ii)

by striking or the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program under part F of title IV of the Social Security Act ;

(iii)

by inserting primary, secondary, and post-secondary after public and private; and

(iv)

in the second sentence, by inserting and tenants served by the program after the unit of general local government;

(10)

in subsection (h), as so redesignated—

(A)

in paragraph (1)

(i)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity;

(ii)

by striking participating in the and inserting carrying out a local; and

(iii)

by striking to the Secretary, for approval by the Secretary,;

(B)

in paragraph (2)

(i)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity;

(ii)

by striking subsection (f) and inserting subsection (g) ;

(iii)

by striking residents of the public housing and inserting the current and prospective participants of the program; and

(iv)

by striking or the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program under part F of title IV of the Social Security Act ; and

(C)

in paragraph (3)

(i)

in subparagraph (C)

(I)

by striking subsection (c)(2) and inserting subsection (d)(2) ;

(II)

by striking provided to and inserting coordinated on behalf of participating; and

(III)

by striking the section 8 and public housing programs and inserting sections 8 and 9 ;

(ii)

in subparagraph (D)

(I)

by striking subsection (d) and inserting subsection (e) ; and

(II)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity;

(iii)

in subparagraph (E), by striking deliver and inserting coordinate;

(iv)

in subparagraph (H), by striking the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program under part F of title IV of the Social Security Act and; and

(v)

in subparagraph (I), by striking public housing or section 8 assistance and inserting assistance under section 8 or 9 ;

(11)

by amending subsection (i), as so redesignated, to read as follows:

(i)

Family self-Sufficiency fees

(1)

In general

Subject to appropriations, the Secretary shall establish a fee to be awarded by formula or as otherwise determined by the Secretary for the costs incurred by an eligible entity in administering the self-sufficiency program under this section.

(2)

Eligibility for fee

The fee established under paragraph (1) shall provide funding for family self-sufficiency coordinators as follows:

(A)

Base fee

An eligible entity serving 25 or more participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section is eligible to receive a fee equal to the costs, as determined by the Secretary, of 1 full-time family self-sufficiency coordinator position. The Secretary may, by regulation or notice, determine the policy concerning the fee for an eligible entity serving fewer than 25 such participants, including providing prorated fees or allowing such entities to combine their programs under this section for purposes of employing a coordinator.

(B)

Additional fee

An eligible entity that meets performance standards set by the Secretary is eligible to receive an additional fee sufficient to cover the costs of filling a second family self-sufficiency coordinator position if such entity has 75 or more participating families, and an additional coordinator for each additional 50 participating families, or such other ratio as may be established by the Secretary based on the fee allocation evaluation under subparagraph (F).

(C)

Initial year

For the first year in which an eligible entity implements a Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section for its residents, such entity is eligible for funding to cover the costs of up to 1 family self-sufficiency coordinator, based on the size specified in its action plan for such program in accordance with subparagraph (A).

(D)

State and regional agencies

For purposes of calculating the family self-sufficiency portion of the administrative fee under this paragraph, each administratively distinct part of a State or regional eligible entity may be treated as a separate agency.

(E)

Determination of number of coordinators

In determining whether an eligible entity meets a specific threshold for funding pursuant to this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider the number of participants enrolled by the eligible entity in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as well as other criteria determined by the Secretary.

(F)

Fee allocation evaluation

The Secretary shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the fee allocation under this subsection, and make recommendations based on this evaluation and other related findings to modify such allocation within 4 years after the date of enactment of the Family Self-Sufficiency Act , and not less frequently than every 4 years thereafter. The report requirement under this subparagraph shall terminate after the Secretary has submitted 2 such reports to Congress.

(3)

Allocation

(A)

In general

Funds allocated by the Secretary under this subsection shall be allocated in the following order of priority:

(i)

First priority

Renewal of the full cost of all coordinators in the previous year at each eligible entity with an existing Family Self-Sufficiency program that meets applicable size and performance standards set by the Secretary.

(ii)

Second priority

New or incremental coordinator funding authorized under this section, up to 3 coordinators per eligible entity.

(iii)

Final priority

Any other new or incremental coordinator funding authorized under this section.

(B)

Guidance

If the first priority, as described in subparagraph (A)(i), cannot be fully satisfied, the Secretary may prorate the funding for each eligible entity, as long as—

(i)

each eligible entity that has received funding for at least 1 part-time coordinator in the prior fiscal year is provided sufficient funding for at least 1 part-time coordinator as part of any such proration; and

(ii)

each eligible entity that has received funding for at least 1 full-time coordinator in the prior fiscal year is provided sufficient funding for at least 1 full-time coordinator as part of any such proration.

(4)

Recapture or offset

Any fees allocated under this subsection by the Secretary in a fiscal year that have not been spent by the end of the subsequent fiscal year or such other time period as determined by the Secretary may be recaptured by the Secretary and shall be available for providing additional fees pursuant to paragraph (2)(B), or may be offset as determined by the Secretary.

(5)

Performance reporting

Programs under this section shall be required to report the number of families enrolled and graduated, the number of established escrow accounts and positive escrow balances, and any other information that the Secretary may require. Program performance shall be reviewed periodically as determined by the Secretary.

(6)

Incentives for innovation and high performance

The Secretary may reserve up to 5 percent of the amounts made available for administrative fees under this subsection to provide support to or reward Family Self-Sufficiency programs based on the rate of successful completion, increased earned income, or other factors as may be established by the Secretary.

;

(12)

in subsection (j)

(A)

by striking public housing agency and inserting eligible entity;

(B)

by striking public housing before units;

(C)

by striking in public housing projects administered by the agency;

(D)

by inserting or coordination after provision; and

(E)

by striking the last sentence;

(13)

in subsection (k), by striking public housing agencies and inserting eligible entities;

(14)

by striking subsection (n);

(15)

by striking subsection (o);

(16)

by redesignating subsections (l) and (m) as subsections (m) and (n), respectively;

(17)

by inserting after subsection (k) the following:

(l)

Programs for tenants in privately-Owned properties with project-Based assistance

(1)

Voluntary availability of FSS program

The owner of a privately-owned property may voluntarily make a local Family Self-Sufficiency program available to the tenants of such property by entering into a cooperative agreement with a local public housing agency that administers a Family Self-Sufficiency program.

(2)

Cooperative agreement

Any cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require the public housing agency to open its Family Self-Sufficiency program waiting list to any eligible family residing in the owner’s property who is assisted under project-based section 8.

(3)

Treatment of families assisted under this subsection

A public housing agency that enters into a cooperative agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) may count any family participating in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as a result of such agreement as part of the calculation of the administrative fee under subsection (i).

(4)

Escrow

The cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall provide for the calculation and tracking of the escrow for participating residents and for the owner to make available, upon request of the public housing agency, escrow for participating residents, in accordance with subsection (e)(2), residing in units assisted under section 8.

(5)

No existing local program option

If there is no existing local Family Self-Sufficiency program or public housing agency willing and able to enter into a cooperative agreement with an owner pursuant to paragraph (1), such owner may administer a Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section without being eligible for funding under subsection (i). If such owner administers a program that serves at least 25 participants, that owner shall be eligible for funding under subsection (i) or may use funding from residual receipt accounts for the property for hiring a service coordinator for the program.

(6)

Exception

This subsection shall not apply to properties assisted under section 8(o)(13).

(7)

Suspension of enrollment

In any year, the Secretary may suspend the enrollment of new families in Family Self-Sufficiency programs under this subsection based on a determination that insufficient funding is available for this purpose.

; and

(18)

in subsection (m), as so redesignated—

(A)

in paragraph (1)

(i)

in the first sentence, by striking Each public housing agency and inserting Each eligible entity; and

(ii)

in the second sentence, by striking The report shall include and inserting The contents of the report shall be determined by the Secretary and shall include; and

(B)

in paragraph (2), by inserting and describing any additional research needs of the Secretary to evaluate the effectiveness of the program after under paragraph (1) .

(b)

Effective date

This Act, and any amendments made by this Act, shall take effect on publication in the Federal Register of a notice by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to implement such amendments.

3.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the amendments made by this Act $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.