Reauthorization and Related Housing Bills
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which
was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996, is currently up for reauthorization
in the US Congress. Why is this important for Public Housing Agencies?
Because families receiving or eligible for TANF constitute a large
percentage of those families served by federal housing programs.
It is particularly important for WtW voucher coordinators to understand
how the proposed changes could affect their clients and the resources
available to help clients transition from welfare to work.
At the same time, the TANF reauthorization debate has caused many
legislators to examine the connection between stable, affordable
housing and the ability of welfare recipients to move off of TANF.
Some of the TANF reauthorization bills include important housing
components, while certain housing bills include components to help
families move from welfare to work.
Key legislative updates include the following: (information
last updated March 2003)
- Congress will continue funding for TANF until June 30, 2003. On February 13, the House and Senate approved the fiscal year (FY) 2003 omnibus appropriations bill (H.J. Res. 2). The bill will extend the TANF block grant, through June 30, 2003.
- Congress will continue funding for TANF until March 30, 2003.
- Senate Passes Continuing Resolution (CR). In November
2002, the Senate passed a CR to provide continued funding for
government operations through January 11, 2003. The bill would
continue funds for most non-defense programs at the 2002 enacted
level. The CR provides second quarter funding to keep state TANF
programs in operation.
- Three-Month TANF Extension Issued. In late September
2002, Congress issued a three-month extension of the Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. This extension will
last until December 31, 2002, and will allow states to continue
to receive federal funding while Congress decides on an agreement
to extend the program.
- "Tri-Partisan" TANF Reauthorization Bill Would
Make it Easier to Use TANF Funds for Housing. On June 26,
2002, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to reauthorize
the TANF block grant that would make it easier for states to use
TANF funds for housing assistance. The attached Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities report analyzes the Senate Finance Committee
bill on changes to the TANF law. The report analyzes the bill's
work requirements, family formation, child support enforcement,
legal immigrant eligibility options, transitional medical assistance,
TANF funding, and childcare funding. View this report
for more information on the Senate Finance Committee's bill.
- FY 2003 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill Adds Additional Housing
Vouchers. In July 2002, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee,
Senator Paul Sarbanes, filed S. 2791, the Housing Voucher Improvements
Act of 2002. This bill would make it easier for families to use
housing vouchers and increases the potential of vouchers to promote
mobility to better neighborhoods with greater access to employment.
Specific provisions of the bill include the following:
- full or partial restoration of the cuts the Administration
had proposed compared with FY 2002 funding levels (particularly
for public housing)
- funding for 15,000 new housing vouchers (rather than the
34,000 new vouchers requested by the Administration), including
$20 million for WtW vouchers, which would fund 3,400 - 4,000
vouchers for 12 months
- an addition to the U.S. Housing Act, which would make authorization
of the WtW voucher program permanent.
View a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis
of this bill for a discussion of the potential impact of these
vouchers and ongoing need for greater housing assistance.
Voucher Improvements Act of 2002 Filed by Senate. In July
2002, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Paul Sarbanes,
filed S. 2791, the Housing Voucher Improvements Act of 2002. This
bill would make it easier for families to use housing vouchers
and increases the potential of vouchers to promote mobility to
better neighborhoods with greater access to employment. Specific
provisions of the bill include the following:
- five-year authorization for the Welfare-to-Work Housing Voucher
- expansion of the Family Self-Sufficiency program
- allowance of ROSS grant funds to serve Section 8 families
- allowance of third-party payments for earnings disregards
- requirement that state and local Consolidated Plans be developed
in consultation with agencies administering TANF and Workforce
Investment Act programs (these plans are to also consider the
effects of housing location on employment opportunities for
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities created a chart
that compares the voucher and welfare reform-related provisions
of S. 2791 with the housing bill approved by the House Financial
Services Committee, HR 3995.
To view the text of the bills and track their status as they move
through Congress, visit the Library
of Congress' legislative information page. The Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities is also doing a special
report series on TANF reauthorization that analyzes the key
issues in the debate.
During the next few months, it will be important for policymakers
to hear from their constituents. To take part in this process, you
can contact your state senators
to tell them what's going on in your state, share your concerns,
and weigh in on the different proposals.