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First Gov  

March 2, 1998

H.R. 217 - Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation
and Flexibility Act

(Lazio (R) FL and 5 others)

The Administration supports the goal of maximizing local flexibility to develop comprehensive approaches to homelessness. The Administration appreciates the efforts of the Banking and Financial Services Committee to improve H.R. 217, but continues to have strong concerns with the bill as reported. In particular, the Administration objects to:
  • Permanent Housing Set-Aside. The Administration recognizes the importance of permanent housing in addressing homelessness, but believes the proposed percentage set-aside for permanent housing in H.R. 217 would hamper local efforts to find the most cost-effective approach to addressing the problems of homelessness in each community.

  • Additional Match Requirement for Supportive Services. The Administration continues to believe that States and localities should have maximum flexibility to determine what portion of grant funds to devote to supportive services without having an additional match requirement if they exceed 35 percent.

  • Local Provider Involvement in Homelessness Assistance Planning. The Administration is concerned that the bill would not adequately engage homeless service providers in the local homeless assistance planning process.

  • Insufficient Requirements for Grantee Accountability. The Administration is concerned that the bill contains insufficient performance requirements and approval criteria to ensure the funding of high-quality homeless assistance programs.

  • Companion Services Block Grant. The Administration is aware of the need for Federal interagency coordination in the delivery of homeless assistance, but does not believe the Companion Services Block Grant is the appropriate means to ensure this coordination. In addition, the requirement for advance congressional approval for transfer of agency funds to this block grant violates the Supreme Court's Chadha decision.

  • Promulgation of Regulations. The Administration is concerned about the bill's requirement that implementing regulations be issued on an interim basis permitting public comment only after they are effective. Regulations to implement the Act should be effective only after notice and comment rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. ?553.
Pay-As-You-Go Scoring. H.R. 217 would not affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, it is not subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.