Federal Healthy Housing Bills

The Title X Amendments Act, S. 290: On February 13th, 2013, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced two two bipartisan bills pertaining to healthy housing, the Healthy Housing Council Act and the Title X Amendments Act. These bills seek to improve federal coordination of healthy housing efforts and better integrate healthy housing activities into the ongoing lead poisoning prevention work at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Title X Amendments Act, S. 290, which is co-sponsored by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), would permit HUD to continue to carry out healthy housing activities while protecting important ongoing lead remediation efforts and streamline families’ eligibility for assistance. The amendments are necessary reforms designed to improve and expedite the delivery of cost-effective services, while aligning legislative authority with current needs and practices.

Technical amendments to Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act will accomplish major policy goals, including:

  • Expand the existing Title X statute to enable other health and safety threats to be treated through the lead hazard control grant program at HUD.
  • Permit a healthy homes and lead hazard control grantee to use another program’s income and eligibility information to qualify for HUD lead and healthy homes funds.
  • Add a provision to include zero-bedroom units in HUD’s lead hazard control program.
  • Allow tribal governments to apply for funding, as well as nonprofit organizations that have the support of state or local governments.

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the H.R. 1232, House version of S. 290 on March 20. The eight original co-sponsors who joined her are Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI),  Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL). H.R. 1232 is the companion bill to S. 290.

The next step for the Title X Amendments Act of 2013 is consideration by the respective authorizing committees: the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

    Healthy Housing Council Act S. 291: Additionally on February 13, 2013, Senators Reed and Johanns re-introduced the Healthy Housing Council Act, with cosponsors Franken and Boxer. S. 291 would establish an independent interagency Council on Healthy Housing in the executive branch in order to improve coordination, bring existing efforts out of their respective silos, and reduce duplication. The bill calls for the council to convene periodic meetings with experts in the public and private sectors to discuss ways to educate individuals and families on how to recognize housing-related health hazards and secure the necessary services and preventive measures to combat these hazards.

    The goal for these bills is to address 5.7 million households living in conditions with moderate or severe health hazards, 23 million homes with lead-based paint hazards, 14,000 unintentional injury and fire deaths that result from housing-related hazards, and 21,000 radon-associated lung cancer deaths every year. These alarming numbers contribute to increasing health care costs for individuals and families, as well as for federal, state, and local governments.

    Read the full press release.

     

    Livable Communities Act, S. 1621: On September 26, 2011, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) led the introduction of the Livable Communities Act of 2011, marking an important step forward in transforming the Federal government into a better partner for communities as they work to achieve their goals. The bill would formally authorize the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its Regional Planning and Community Challenge grant programs. These programs support community efforts to establish and implement a locally defined vision for future growth and redevelopment through comprehensive planning and capital improvement programs. The bill would also create a loan program for infrastructure improvements (streetscape, utilities) in preparation for transit-oriented development.

    For full press release, click here.

    Healthy Housing "Vision" Bill: On October 2, 2008, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced Senate bill S. 3654 to improve the quality of housing in the United States. The bill emphasizes cost-effective approaches and market-based incentives to make homes healthier and safer without detracting from their affordability. Entitled the Research, Hazard Intervention, and National Outreach for Healthier Housing Act, the multi-faceted legislation aims to improve research, enhance the capacity of federal programs, and expand national outreach efforts.

    On October 21, 2009, Representative Robert Brady (D-PA) introduced H.R. 3891, The Safe and Healthy Housing Act of 2009.

    Key bill provisions include:

    • Funding for existing federal housing programs, such as CDBG, HOME, and LIHEAP to add healthy homes components to their programs.
    • Leveraging the private market interest in healthy homes by creating a voluntary “Healthy Homes Seal of Approval” modeled after the successful Energy Star program.
    • Authorizing $7,000,000 for each of the next five years for the National Institute of Environmental Health Science and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the health risks and human health effects of indoor exposure to chemical pollutants including carbon monoxide, chemical asthma triggers, and common household and garden pesticides.
    • Authorizing $6,000,000 for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to study methods for the assessment and control of housing-related health hazards.
    • Providing $10,000,000 for HUD and CDC to study the indoor environmental quality of existing housing and to create a system for monitoring housing related hazards.