Diaz-Balart Introduces FY17 THUD Appropriations Bill, Includes Relief for Miami-Dade Homeless Programs
WASHINGTON - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after introducing the draft fiscal year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. The legislation will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
"This bill provides for our nation's transportation and housing needs, while making tough choices to protect hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It recognizes the need to house the most vulnerable and get critical infrastructure back on track. Most importantly, it will ensure the safety of our infrastructure and improve the quality of our public housing programs.
"As I continue seeking answers on why the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found the Homeless Trust's programs ineffective and its grant application to be less competitive, I am taking action to prioritize funding for essential homeless assistance grants vital to South Florida's most needy. These programs, which provide support services, as well as transitional and permanent housing, are funded at $2.487 billion, which represents an increase of $237 million over current levels. Very few programs in the bill are receiving an increase of this magnitude, and I am grateful to be able to aid our community in a time of great need. Specifically, I am increasing funding to programs that will directly benefit South Florida: $40 million in supplemental Emergency Solutions Grant funding to be distributed to communities that have recently lost significant funding within their continuum of care program, and at least $5 million for technical assistance to high-needs communities. It is becoming clear the Homeless Trust and Miami-Dade County are in need of HUD assistance to improve their homeless programs. Introducing the bill this morning is the beginning of a lengthy legislative process, but I am committed to ensuring that resources are available so that South Florida can better compete and improve the quality and scale of their homeless services."
Diaz-Balart's bill recommends $2.487 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants. Within that allotment, no less than $2.014 billion is provided to support continuum of care program renewals, at least $270 million is for regular Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and an additional $40 million in formula funds for rapid re-housing and other critical activities like emergency shelter and street outreach in communities that have recently lost significant capacity to serve persons experiencing homelessness. Further, the bill provides no less than $15 million for technical assistance to continuum of care communities, including no less than $5 million for high need communities. Miami-Dade County would be an eligible recipient of both the supplement ESG funding and technical assistance.