Senators Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Families Relocate to Greater Opportunity Areas
U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) recently introduced legislation to provide greater choice and mobility to participants in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. The bipartisan bill builds on the same legislation introduced by Senators Young and Hollen during the 115th Congress.
The Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act would require PHAs to submit a regional housing mobility plan detailing how the proposed group will assist families in moving to higher opportunity areas. It would authorize HUD to award demonstration program funds on a competitive basis and prioritize regional collaborations among PHAs that have high concentrations of voucher holders in low-opportunity neighborhoods and an adequate number of moderately priced rental units in higher-opportunity areas, an existing high-performing Family Self Sufficiency program, or a strong regional collaboration including one or more small housing agencies, among other factors. Regional housing mobility plans would have to include the following information:
- Identify the public housing agencies that will participate under the plan and the number of vouchers each participating public housing agency will make available out of their existing programs in connection with the demonstration.
- Identify any community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and other entities that will participate under the plan and describe the commitments for the participation made by each such entity.
- Identify any waivers or alternative requirements requested for the execution of the plan.
- Identify any specific actions that the public housing agencies and other entities will undertake to accomplish the goals of the demonstration program, which must include a comprehensive approach to enable a successful transition to opportunity areas and may include counseling and continued support for families.
- Specify the criteria that the public housing agencies will use to identify opportunity areas under the plan.
- Provide for the establishment of priority and preferences for families receiving assistance under the demonstration program, including a preference for families with young children, as such term is defined by the HUD Secretary, based on regional housing needs and priorities.
- Comply with any other requirements established by the HUD Secretary.
Five years after implementing the demonstration program, HUD would submit a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program, which will help identify the most cost-effective methods to move families to higher-opportunity areas.