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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND VIEW NSHN'S NATIONAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

 

LEGISLATIVE ISSUES TO WATCH

Excellence in Mental Health Act - (S. 264 and H.R.1263)

  • Establishes a two year demonstration program in eight states to expand behavioral health services.
  • Amends the Public Health Service Act to set forth criteria for the certification of federally-qualified community behavioral health centers.
  • Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to make such centers eligible for payments for services under Medicaid.
  • Amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award matching grants to states or Indian tribes to expend funds for the construction or modernization of facilities used to provide community-based mental health and substance abuse services to individuals.

Ensuring Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2013 - (S 948, H.R. 942)

Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to cover, as medical and other health services, complex rehabilitation technology items designed and configured for a specific qualified individual to meet that individual's unique: (1) medical, physical, and functional needs related to a medical condition; and (2) capacities for basic activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental ADLs.

 

Affordable Care Act

  • Funds expansion of Medicaid which could allow persons with disabilites to keep their coverage while returning to work and increasing their income. However, advocates need to educate their own state about importance of this option.
  • Funds Community Health Centers which increases access to health care for low income and uninsured persons.
  • Uninsured persons can apply for health insurance through their state or national health exchanges.

Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (H.R. 3619), spondored by Rep. Keith Ellison.

The bill would remove the 2014 sunset date of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PTFA) and add a private right of action to ensure better compliance with the law. Th e enactment of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act ensures that most tenants renting in foreclosed properties can stay in their homes for the remainder of their leases or for at least 90 days post-foreclosure. Prior to PTFA, such tenants were often required to move with as little as a few days' notice.

 

Frank Melville Supportive Housing Act (Signed into Law by President Obama January 4, 2011)
  • Reforms the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program, the one HUD Program dedicated exclusively to creating housing for persons with disabilities. This program has been traditionally underfunded and the heavy regulatory requirements has made it a difficult program to operate. The new law creates an innovative 811 Demonstration program which promotes integrated housing opportunities for people with disabilities and could create 3,500-5,000 or more new affordable and accessible units every year without increases in appropriations. During recent years, the program has produced fewer than 1,000 units annually. 
  • The proposed legislation also creates a set aside of supportive housing units in Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects, which is the most significant source of affordable housing units now operating.
  • The law encourages the use of integrating Section 811 funding with other funding sources such as HUD HOME, Low Income Housing Tax Credits or bond financing to insure that units are integrated in larger affordable housing developments.
  • Allows the participant to choose whether to accept supportive services being offered.
  • Funds project-based housing and tenant-based rental vouchers. Project based assistance will be limited to extremely  low income persons with disabilities.
  • Provide a copy or summary of the Act to your state Housing Finance Agency and Medicaid Director. Encourage your state to apply for the new 811 funding opportunites. The Act requires a partnership agreement between the two entities that identifies the target population, the methods for outreach and referral and the services to be made available to the tenants in order to access the project-based funding.  
  • One of the lead agencies in helping to get the law passed and in providing technical assistance is the Technical Assistance Collaborative. See their website at www.tacinc.org.
HEARTH ACT (Passed)
  • Passed on May 20, 2009
  • Consolidates the various HUD homeless assistance programs, "Shelter Plus Care", "Supportive Housing Program" and the "SRO Program".
  • Expands use of ESG Program to include prevention and rapid re-housing rental assitance.
  • Provides for permanent housing rental assistance for households with disabilities.
  • Established goal of ensuring that families who become homeless will return to permanent housing in 30 days.
  • Expands definition of homelessness to include persons doubled up with families.
  • Increases the reimbursements available to providers of housing for administrative costs. Project Sponsors can get up to 10% in indirect administrative costs.
  • Lead Agency in the community Continuum of Care can get up to 3%-6% for indirect administrative costs.
  • The required local match is a flat 25% but now includes non-cash match.
  • Regulations regarding the modified definition of homelessness have been completed.

 ADMINSTRATIVE/FUNDING/REGULATORY ISSUES TO WATCH 

  • Social Security Administration requests comments on changes to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rule that affects homeless persons with disabilities. Comments due March 12, 2012. View NSHN Comments here.
  • Final Rule issued for Home and Community Based Waiver.Home and community-based services (HCBS) provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own home or community. These programs serve a variety of targeted populations groups, such as people with mental illnesses, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and/or physical disabilities.
  • Comments submitted by NSHN on Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver
  • HEARTH Act Homeless Definition: The Homeless Definition regulation was issued December 5, 2011 and take effect January 5th. This expands the definition of homelessness and clarifies the definition of disability for homeless programs funded by HUD. (Supportive Housng Program, ESG and Shelter Plus Care, 24 CFR Parts 91, 582, 583). Click Here for further details.
  • HEARTH ESG Regulations: this proposed rule changes the Emergency Solutions Grant in 24 CFR part 576. It also changes the Consolidated Plan requirements in 24 CFR part 91. Comments to this proposed rule were due: February 3, 2012.
  • HEARTH Regulation that is still pending:  proposed rules are still pending for the Continuum of Care program (foremrly SHP and SHelter Plus Care homeless programs) and the new Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program.  
  • CMS issued proposed rules regarding Medicaid's Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers under section 1915(c) of the Social Security Act, that can affect Assisted Living Facilities and other settings for the elderly, and persons disabled due to a mental illness or developmental disability. Comments due June 14, 2011.
  • HUD issued the Proposed Rule for the National Housing Trust Fund. The funds can be used to preserve, rehabilitate or building affordable housing, including permanent supportive housing. Comments were due December 28, 2010. The Proposed Rule was published in the Federal Register Volume 75, Number 209, Oct. 29, 2010.Pages 66978-67009. 
  • The SSA proposed rule changes that would affect the criteria used to determine if a person with a mentail illness is disabled. The comments were due by November 17, 2010.
 
 

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