Housing Bills Unlikely To Move Before Recess
By Eugene T. Lowe
With the expected recess of the first session of the 105th Congress by November 14, public housing reform and homeless consolidation bills will be held over until next year.
Both the house and senate have passed public housing reform bills, H.R. 2 and S. 462. But as it was in the 104th Congress, the house and senate conference has been slow, with staff from both houses attempting to find common ground on various issues of the bills. Congressional staff sources say that Senator Connie Mack (FL), Chairman of the Senate Housing Opportunity and Community Development Subcommittee and Representative Rick Lazio (NY), Chairman of the House Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee are negotiating on the controversial issues of the bills. Still, even with the work of the staff and the two Chairman, it is very unlikely that a compromise will be reached on the bills before recess.
In regard to H.R. 2, the House's public housing reform bill, the Conference of Mayors is concerned with two provisions: the Home Rule Option and CDBG sanctions. The Home Rule Option would give local governments (instead of public housing authorities) the option to receive public housing and Section 8 funds in a single block grant for meeting the housing needs of their communities. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has not taken an official position on the Home Rule Option. USCM's Working Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development, however, will meet in San Francisco on November 17, and at that time will adopt policy recommendations on public housing, including Home Rule Option.
As for CDBG sanctions, the Conference of Mayors has opposed the provision that would authorize the HUD Secretary to withhold a jurisdiction's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds if the local government has contributed to the "troubled condition" (as determined by HUD) of its public housing authority.
Homeless Bill Passed
On November 5, the House Banking and Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 217, the Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act. The bill consolidates seven existing HUD grants into a block grant for cities, states, and homeless service providers. Further action will not take place on the bill until next year.
Copyright © 1996, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.