4.13 Assisting Immigrants with HUD Programs and other Public Benefits (Rosen)

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Enrolling homeless people in HUD programs and other public benefits is a major hurdle in ending homelessness – and even more so if those being enrolled are immigrants. This workshop will focus on the eligibility requirements and disqualifications for several federal programs. Speakers will also touch on the difference between federal and local limitations on access to public housing.

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4.13 Assisting Immigrants with HUD Programs and other Public Benefits (Rosen)

  1. 1. Assisting Immigrants with HUD Programs and Other Public Benefits : Citizenship Eligibility Requirements in HUD’s Homelessness Programs National Conference on Ending Homelessness July 13, 2010
  2. 2. Outline of Presentation <ul><li>The Law </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HUD Regulations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Applying the Law </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emergency Shelter Grants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shelter Plus Care </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Supportive Housing Program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HPRP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What’s Next? </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Law: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act <ul><li>The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is the welfare reform legislation passed in 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Restricts eligibility for “federal public benefits” to citizens and qualified aliens (8 U.S.C. 1611) </li></ul><ul><li>What is a “federal public benefit”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ any . . . public or assisted housing . . . for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HUD has not defined “public or assisted housing” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Law: PRWORA Exemptions <ul><li>NOT subject to PRWORA’s citizenship verification requirements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs that don’t fall under definition of “federal public benefit” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs, specified by the AG, that meet the following exceptions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deliver in-kind services at the community level; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not condition the provision, amount, or cost of assistance on recipient’s income or resources; and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are necessary for the protection of life or safety </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public benefits provided by nonprofit charitable organizations </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The Law: HUD Regulations <ul><li>HUD has never issued regulations implementing PRWORA </li></ul><ul><li>HUD regulations implementing McKinney-Vento programs contain no immigration restrictions </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Law: HUD Regulations (cont.) <ul><li>HUD regulation 24 C.F.R. Part 5, Subpart E: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Restricts eligibility for certain housing programs to citizens and certain noncitizens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Section 8 Housing Assistance Programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public Housing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Section 235 and Section 236 Housing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rent Supplement Program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Housing Development Grant Programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does NOT apply to McKinney-Vento programs or HPRP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exception: SRO component of Shelter Plus Care (operated under Section 8 rules) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Applying the Law: General Considerations NO NO Is the program a “ federal public benefit ” ? YES Does the program meet all three exceptions? Exempt from verification requirements NO Exempt from verification requirements YES Is the program administered by a nonprofit? YES Exempt from verification requirements Subject to verification requirements
  8. 8. Applying the Law: HUD’s View <ul><li>HUD’s view since 1987: McKinney-Vento programs are generally not subject to immigration restrictions, with limited exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Recent indications that HUD may reconsider its view with upcoming HEARTH Act regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Concern that HUD’s reinterpretation may restrict the availability of homeless assistance </li></ul>
  9. 9. Applying the Law: Emergency Shelter Grants <ul><li>EXEMPT from citizenship verification requirements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivers in-kind services?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not conditioned on recipient’s income?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary for protection of life or safety?  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Short-term shelters specifically exempted from PRWORA verification requirements by the Attorney General (66 Fed. Reg. 3613, “Final Specification of Community Programs Necessary for Protection of Life or Safety Under Welfare Reform Legislation”) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Applying the Law: Shelter Plus Care Program <ul><li>Arguably exempt </li></ul><ul><li>Is SPC a “federal public benefit”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not included in various definitions of “public or assisted housing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike other types of public or assisted housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Serves homeless individuals with disabilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rental assistance bundled with supportive services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Does SPC fall under the exceptions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivers in-kind services? X </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not conditioned on recipient’s income? X </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary for protection of life or safety?  </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Applying the Law: Shelter Plus Care Program (cont.) <ul><li>Administered by a nonprofit organization? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy justifications for exempting SPC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many homeless individuals lack documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals with disabilities may lack resources or capacity required to obtain documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delay caused by verification could have life or death consequences for vulnerable populations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Applying the Law: Shelter Plus Care Program (cont.) <ul><li>HUD’s view: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SRO component  subject to 24 CFR Part 5, Subpart E </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assistance restricted to citizens and certain noncitizens with eligible immigration status </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State and local governments that directly administer SPC  consult with legal counsel for interpretation of PRWORA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofits that administer SPC  exempt </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Applying the Law: Supportive Housing Program <ul><li>Likely exempt </li></ul><ul><li>Is SHP a “federal public benefit”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not included in various definitions of “public or assisted housing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike other types of public or assisted housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many uses of SHP funds are not tied to an “individual, household, or family eligibility unit” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does SHP fall under the exceptions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivers in-kind services? Depends… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not conditioned on recipient’s income? Depends… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary for protection of life or safety?  </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Applying the Law: Supportive Housing Program (cont.) <ul><li>Administered by a nonprofit organization? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy justifications for exempting SHP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Same as SPC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HUD’s view: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SHP transitional housing  Exempt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SHP permanent housing  Subject to verification requirements (if administered by state or local governments) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Applying the Law: HPRP <ul><li>Arguably exempt </li></ul><ul><li>Is HPRP a “federal public benefit”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not included in various definitions of “public or assisted housing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike other types of public or assisted housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HPRP funds are not provided directly to an “individual, household, or family eligibility unit” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does HPRP fall under the exceptions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivers in-kind services? Depends… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not conditioned on recipient’s income? Depends… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary for protection of life or safety?  </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Applying the Law: HPRP (cont.) <ul><li>Administered by a nonprofit organization? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy justifications for exempting HPRP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HPRP is intended to be a rapid, preventative response to impending homelessness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imposing restrictions would create obstacles for individuals seeking to escape homelessness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delays caused by verification requirements inconsistent with the program’s purpose </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Applying the Law: HPRP (cont.) <ul><li>HUD’s View: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State and local governments that directly administer HPRP assistance  subject to citizenship verification requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofit organizations that administer HPRP assistance  exempt (but may choose to verify) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results in pro-ration of assistance to households in which some members are eligible and others are not </li></ul>
  18. 18. What’s Next? <ul><li>Forthcoming HEARTH Act regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May provide clarification or impose new requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HEARTH Act Sec. 1302(g): Administration of Rental Assistance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Provision of permanent housing rental assistance shall be administered by a State, unit of general local government, or public housing agency’’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May mean more programs and services are subject to verification requirements… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other HEARTH Act programs less likely to be subject to verification requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlikely to fall under the definition of “federal public benefit” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem: How will HEARTH Act regulations deal with funding for different activities coming through one program? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Questions <ul><li>? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Contact Information <ul><li>Jeremy Rosen </li></ul><ul><li>Policy Director </li></ul><ul><li>National Law Center </li></ul><ul><li>on Homelessness and Poverty </li></ul><ul><li>(202) 638-2535 x210 </li></ul><ul><li>jrosen @nlchp.org </li></ul>

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