The Continuum of Care (CoC) regulations released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last year included language stating that only government entities (including Public Housing Authorities) would be allowed to administer rental assistance, excluding nonprofits from participating in rental assistance activities. This presents a significant challenge to Continuums across the country and adds administrative burden to many entities trying to quickly re-house individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Fortunately, many of you engaged your Members of Congress on this issue in the past few months, and they have begun taking action! The Senate's fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding bill for the Departments of Transportation and HUD includes simple language that would allow nonprofits to administer rental assistance. Should the legislation pass into law, it would essentially fix the problem.
However, since the federal funding process may take a significant amount of time to finalize and individuals bills may not pass, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), has introduced legislation with similar language to ensure that nonprofits may administer rental assistance. The legislation, H.R. 2790 - the Housing Assistance Efficiency Act, would allow nonprofits [501(c)3s] to administer rental assistance. Right now, the legislation has been introduced to the House Financial Services Committee (the House Committee with oversight over HUD programs), and needs sufficient bipartisan support to be considered in and passed out of the Committee.
If you are concerned about nonprofits in your Continuum no longer being able to administer rental assistance, this is your chance to address that! We need to ensure H.R. 2790 has as many cosponsors as possible!
Here's What You Can Do:
1. Call your Members in the House of Representatives this August.
a. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues in the office. You can find the office's number by calling the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121.
2. Urge them to cosponsor Rep. Peters' legislation, HR 2790!
a. Explain the importance of nonprofits administering rental assistance in your community and the deleterious impacts this regulation has on your efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
3. Have the office contact Lumay Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org ) to cosponsor HR 2790!
4. Let us know who you called and what they said! Email Kate Seif (email@example.com) to report back!
Please feel free to check out the Alliance's blog on this issue here for further information. We will make sure to keep advocates apprised of any changes and updates to this legislation. This recess is a great opportunity to educate your Representatives and urge them to cosponsor HR 2790!