HEALS (Help End Abusive Living Situations) Act (H.R. 5785)

U.S. House bill: H.R. 5785, introduced by Representative O'Halleran (D-AZ-1) — Help End Abusive Living Situations Act

Committees:

House Committee on Financial Services

Status:

The bill has not been formally considered.

Impact

The Alliance strongly opposes the HEALS (Help End Abusive Living Situations) Act because it would increase homelessness among victims of domestic violence.

The HEALS Act, which has not been introduced in the Senate as it has in previous Congresses, is intended to prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from rewarding communities which quickly and satisfactorily house victims of domestic violence.  Enactment of this legislation would result in increased numbers of domestic violence victims being left homeless.   The legislation is unlikely to be enacted as a stand-alone bill.  Backers had hoped to add the legislation to the historic 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, but they encountered strong, bipartisan resistance.  

The increased use of rapid re-housing has helped victims of domestic violence to be re-housed expeditiously and satisfactorily.  Using rapid re-housing instead of transitional housing has resulted in significant savings that allows more victims of domestic violence to be helped.  Congress should not try to interfere with HUD’s scoring process for awarding homelessness services providers with annual grants, particularly in order to prop up less cost-effective providers.  Enactment of the HEALS Act would increase homelessness among victims of domestic violence.  

To help victims of domestic violence who need transitional housing, HUD has developed a “Joint Component Project…to provide short-term, crisis housing while helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness identify and move into permanent housing…”  The project was first authorized by HUD  during the 2017 grant process in order to “combine two existing program components – transitional housing and permanent housing-rapid rehousing – in a single project to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness.  By combining TH and PH-RRH, individuals and families experiencing homelessness have access to low-barrier, temporary housing and the financial supports necessary to help them quickly move into and maintain permanent housing.”

Summary

The Alliance strongly opposes the HEALS Act (H.R. 5785) because it would prevent HUD from rewarding communities which quickly and satisfactorily house victims of domestic violence, which will ultimately increase the numbers of victims of domestic violence who are left homeless.  Efforts to include the legislation in the historic 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act failed because of bipartisan opposition.  It is unlikely the legislation can be enacted as a stand-alone bill in the current Congress.  

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