1Establishing the Veterans' Housing Assistance Program; and
2making appropriations.

3The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
4hereby enacts as follows:

5Section 1. Short title.

6This act shall be shall be known and may be cited as the
7Preventing Veterans' Homelessness Act.

8Section 2. Definitions.

9The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
10have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
11context clearly indicates otherwise:

12"Agency." The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

13"Costs associated with rental." The total costs of rent and
14utilities, per month, for a residential rental unit.

15"Department." The Department of Military and Veterans
16Affairs of the Commonwealth.

17"Financial assistance." The rental voucher established under

1section 5(a).

2"Homeless veteran." A veteran identified and determined by
3the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to be homeless
4or at imminent risk of becoming homeless according to guidelines
5established by the department.

6"Housing ombudsman." An individual designated by the
7Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to carry out the duties and
8responsibilities under section 3(c)(1).

9"Program." The Veterans' Housing Assistance Program
10established under section 3.

11"Veteran." An individual who served on active duty in the
12United States Armed Forces, including any of the following:

13(1) A reservist or member of the National Guard who was
14discharged or released from the service under honorable

16(2) A reservist or member of the National Guard who
17completed an initial term of enlistment or qualifying period
18of service.

19(3) A reservist or member of the National Guard who was
20disabled in the line of duty during training.

21Section 3. Veterans' Housing Assistance Program.

22(a) Establishment.--There is established a Veterans' Housing
23Assistance Program which shall be administered by the agency in
24coordination with the department.

25(b) Duties of department.--The department shall do all of
26the following:

27(1) Implement a program to identify homeless veterans
28for purposes of enrolling them in the program.

29(2) Coordinate with the agency to ensure that homeless
30veterans are provided the opportunity to receive assistance

1from the agency's housing ombudsman or financial assistance
2from the agency.

3(3) Establish guidelines to assist with the
4implementation of this act.

5(c) Duties of agency.--The agency shall do all of the

7(1) Establish a housing ombudsman or contract with a
8nonprofit organization to provide housing location,
9relocation and stabilization services to homeless veterans,
10including negotiating lease agreements with public agencies
11or private landlords on behalf of a homeless veteran.

12(2) Provide or contract with a third party to provide
13credit counseling services to homeless veterans to resolve
14personal credit issues that may have resulted in a negative
15credit report.

16(3) Award financial assistance to eligible homeless
17veterans determined to be in need of financial assistance to
18obtain housing.

19(4) Establish guidelines to assist with the
20implementation of this act.

21Section 4. Enrollment.

22(a) Procedure.--A veteran may enroll in the program by
23filing an application with the department or the agency. A
24veteran shall be eligible for enrollment if the veteran meets
25all of the following:

26(1) Is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless
27as defined in departmental guidelines established under
28section 3.

29(2) Cannot obtain adequate housing without the
30assistance of the department and the agency.

1(b) Conditions.--The department may require an eligible
2veteran to engage in or complete any of the following activities
3as a condition of acceptance into the program:

4(1) Mental health counseling, including treatment and
5recovery support.

6(2) Substance abuse treatment and recovery support,
7including counseling, treatment planning, recovery coaching
8and relapse prevention.

9(3) Integrated, coordinated treatment for co-occurring

11(4) Health education, including referrals for medical
12and dental care.

13(5) Services or activities designed to promote self-
14sufficiency, including:

15(i) Job training.

16(ii) Assistance in seeking employment.

17(iii) Job placement services, including job
18readiness, literacy and skills training.

19(iv) Credit counseling services and remediation.

20(v) Benefits advocacy.

21(vi) Money management.

22(vii) Parental skills and family support programs.

23(viii) Other self-help programs deemed necessary by
24the department.

25Section 5. Financial assistance.

26(a) Rental voucher.--The agency may award financial
27assistance in accordance with section 3(c) to any veteran deemed
28to be in need of the assistance based on the veteran's personal
29finances. Financial assistance shall be awarded to an eligible
30veteran in the form of a housing rental voucher payable to the

1lessor named in any leasing document executed between the
2veteran and a landlord.

3(b) Amount.--The monthly amount of the rental voucher may
4not exceed the costs associated with the rental or $1,000,
5whichever is less.

6(c) Term.--Financial assistance shall be awarded to a
7veteran for the term of the lease executed between the veteran
8and the lessor or for 12 months from the effective date of the
9lease, whichever is less.

10Section 6. Renewal.

11A veteran receiving financial assistance under section 5 may
12seek an extension of the term of the financial assistance by
13filing an application with the department. In determining
14whether to extend the term of the financial assistance, the
15department shall consider the following concerning the

17(1) Employment status.

18(2) Personal finances.

19(3) Compliance with conditions of enrollment placed on
20the veteran under section 4(b).

21Section 7. Cooperation.

22The department and the agency may cooperate with the United
23States Department of Veterans Affairs or local public housing
24authorities to carry out the provisions of this act. At the
25discretion of the department and the agency, the cooperation may
26include coordinating the program with any existing Federal
27program that provides funding for housing for homeless veterans,
28including the United States Department of Housing and Urban
29Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)

1Section 8. Appropriations.

2(a) Agency.--The sum of $12,500,000 is appropriated from the
3General Fund to the agency for the period of July 1, 2014, to
4June 30, 2015, for purposes of providing financial assistance to
5homeless veterans and carrying out the agency's responsibilities
6under this act. Not more than $500,000 of the funds appropriated
7under this section may be used for administrative costs incurred
8by the agency to carry out this act.

9(b) Department.--The sum of $500,000 is appropriated from
10the General Fund to the department for the period of July 1,
112014, to June 30, 2015, for purposes of carrying out the
12department's responsibilities under this act.

13Section 20. Effective date.

14This act shall take effect in 60 days.