IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 29, 2019
Mr. Tester (for himself, Mr. Hoeven, Mr. Udall, and Mr. Isakson) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To provide for rental assistance for homeless or at-risk Indian veterans, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Tribal HUD–VASH Act of 2019.
Rental assistance for homeless or at-risk Indian veterans
Section 8(o)(19) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f(o)(19)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
Indian veterans housing rental assistance program
In this subparagraph:
Eligible Indian veteran
The term eligible Indian veteran means an Indian veteran who is—
homeless or at risk of homelessness; and
on or near a reservation; or
in or near any other Indian area.
The term eligible recipient means a recipient eligible to receive a grant under section 101 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4111).
Indian; Indian area
The terms Indian and Indian area have the meanings given those terms in section 4 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4103).
The term Indian veteran means an Indian who is a veteran.
The term Program means the Tribal HUD–VASH program carried out under clause (ii).
The term tribal organization has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304).
The Secretary shall use not less than 5 percent of the amounts made available for rental assistance under this paragraph to carry out a rental assistance and supported housing program, to be known as the
Tribal HUD–VASH program, in conjunction with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, by awarding grants for the benefit of eligible Indian veterans.
Except as provided in subclause (II), the Secretary shall model the Program on the rental assistance and supported housing program authorized under subparagraph (A) and applicable appropriations Acts, including administration in conjunction with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
After consultation with Indian tribes, eligible recipients, and any other appropriate tribal organizations, the Secretary may make necessary and appropriate modifications to facilitate the use of the Program by eligible recipients to serve eligible Indian veterans.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
After consultation with Indian tribes, eligible recipients, and any other appropriate tribal organizations, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may make necessary and appropriate modifications to facilitate the use of the Program by eligible recipients to serve eligible Indian veterans.
The Secretary shall make amounts for rental assistance and associated administrative costs under the Program available in the form of grants to eligible recipients.
The Secretary shall award grants under the Program based on—
administrative capacity; and
any other funding criteria established by the Secretary in a notice published in the Federal Register after consulting with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Grants awarded under the Program shall be administered in accordance with the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101 et seq.), except that recipients shall—
submit to the Secretary, in a manner prescribed by the Secretary, reports on the utilization of rental assistance provided under the Program; and
provide to the Secretary information specified by the Secretary to assess the effectiveness of the Program in serving eligible Indian veterans.
Grant recipients; tribal organizations
The Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, shall consult with eligible recipients and any other appropriate tribal organization on the design of the Program to ensure the effective delivery of rental assistance and supportive services to eligible Indian veterans under the Program.
Indian Health Service
The Director of the Indian Health Service shall provide any assistance requested by the Secretary or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in carrying out the Program.
Except as provided in subclause (II), the Secretary may waive or specify alternative requirements for any provision of law (including regulations) that the Secretary administers in connection with the use of rental assistance made available under the Program if the Secretary finds that the waiver or alternative requirement is necessary for the effective delivery and administration of rental assistance under the Program to eligible Indian veterans.
The Secretary may not waive or specify alternative requirements under subclause (I) for any provision of law (including regulations) relating to labor standards or the environment.
The Secretary may—
set aside, from amounts made available for tenant-based rental assistance under this subsection and without regard to the amounts used for new grants under clause (ii), such amounts as may be necessary to award renewal grants to eligible recipients that received a grant under the Program in a previous year; and
specify criteria that an eligible recipient must satisfy to receive a renewal grant under subclause (I), including providing data on how the eligible recipient used the amounts of any grant previously received under the Program.
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Tribal HUD–VASH Act of 2019, and every 5 years thereafter, the Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Director of the Indian Health Service, shall—
conduct a review of the implementation of the Program, including any factors that may have limited its success; and
submit a report describing the results of the review under item (aa) to—
the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and
the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources, the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
Analysis of housing stock limitation
The Secretary shall include in the initial report submitted under subclause (I) a description of—
any regulations governing the use of formula current assisted stock (as defined in section 1000.314 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation)) within the Program;
the number of recipients of grants under the Program that have reported the regulations described in item (aa) as a barrier to implementation of the Program; and
proposed alternative legislation or regulations developed by the Secretary in consultation with recipients of grants under the Program to allow the use of formula current assisted stock within the Program.