Josh Gottheimer on Welfare & Poverty
Congressional Summary: Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Demonstration Program Act: This bill requires HUD to establish a five-year demonstration program to provide low-income rental-assistance vouchers to individuals recovering from an opioid or other substance-use disorder. Specifically, these vouchers shall be provided through a supportive housing program that provides treatment for such disorders and coordination with workforce development providers.
Statement in support by the Republican Policy Committee: This bill would set aside, out of approximately 2.2 million vouchers, the lesser of 10,000 Section 8 vouchers or .05% of all vouchers. In 2017, President Trump established the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The Commission will be chaired by Governor Chris Christie and will study ways to combat and treat the scourge of the opioid crisis. The Commission noted, "There is a critical shortage of recovery housing for Americans in or pursuing recovery. Recovery residences (also known as 'sober homes') are alcohol- and drug-free living environments for individuals seeking the skills and social support to remain free of alcohol or other drugs."
Statement in opposition by National Low-Income Housing Coalition: The bill would lengthen affordable housing waiting lists for low income families, seniors, and people experiencing homelessness. Rep. Maxine Waters spoke against the bill [saying it] tries to help people suffering from substance-use disorders, but that doing so requires more resources: "You cannot do this on the cheap. Rehabilitation costs money. We would be taking 10,000 vouchers from those who have been waiting in line for years."
Legislative outcome: Bill Passed House, 230-17-24 on June 14, 2018. No vote in Senate [died in committee].
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