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.

1"Financial assistance." The rental voucher established under
2section 5(a).

3"Homeless veteran." A veteran identified and determined by
4the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to be homeless
5or at imminent risk of becoming homeless according to guidelines
6established by the department.

7"Housing ombudsman." An individual designated by the
8Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to carry out the duties and
9responsibilities under section 3(c)(1).

10"Program." The Veterans' Housing Assistance Program
11established under section 3.

12"Veteran." An individual who served on active duty in the
13United States Armed Forces, including any of the following:

14(1) A reservist or member of the National Guard who was
15discharged or released from the service under honorable

17(2) A reservist or member of the National Guard who
18completed an initial term of enlistment or qualifying period
19of service.

20(3) A reservist or member of the National Guard who was
21disabled in the line of duty during training.

22Section 3. Veterans' Housing Assistance Program.

23(a) Establishment.--There is established a Veterans' Housing
24Assistance Program which shall be administered by the agency in
25coordination with the department.

26(b) Duties of department.--The department shall do all of
27the following:

28(1) Implement a program to identify homeless veterans
29for purposes of enrolling them in the program.

30(2) Coordinate with the agency to ensure that homeless

1veterans are provided the opportunity to receive assistance
2from the agency's housing ombudsman or financial assistance
3from the agency.

4(3) Establish guidelines to assist with the
5implementation of this act.

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

8(1) Establish a housing ombudsman or contract with a
9nonprofit organization to provide housing location,
10relocation and stabilization services to homeless veterans,
11including negotiating lease agreements with public agencies
12or private landlords on behalf of a homeless veteran.

13(2) Provide or contract with a third party to provide
14credit counseling services to homeless veterans to resolve
15personal credit issues that may have resulted in a negative
16credit report.

17(3) Award financial assistance to eligible homeless
18veterans determined to be in need of financial assistance to
19obtain housing.

20(4) Establish guidelines to assist with the
21implementation of this act.

22Section 4. Enrollment.

23(a) Procedure.--A veteran may enroll in the program by
24filing an application with the department or the agency. A
25veteran shall be eligible for enrollment if the veteran meets
26all of the following:

27(1) Is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless
28as defined in departmental guidelines established under
29section 3.

30(2) Cannot obtain adequate housing without the

1assistance of the department and the agency.

2(b) Conditions.--The department may require an eligible
3veteran to engage in or complete any of the following activities
4as a condition of acceptance into the program:

5(1) Mental health counseling, including treatment and
6recovery support.

7(2) Substance abuse treatment and recovery support,
8including counseling, treatment planning, recovery coaching
9and relapse prevention.

10(3) Integrated, coordinated treatment for co-occurring

12(4) Health education, including referrals for medical
13and dental care.

14(5) Services or activities designed to promote self-
15sufficiency, including:

16(i) Job training.

17(ii) Assistance in seeking employment.

18(iii) Job placement services, including job
19readiness, literacy and skills training.

20(iv) Credit counseling services and remediation.

21(v) Benefits advocacy.

22(vi) Money management.

23(vii) Parental skills and family support programs.

24(viii) Other self-help programs deemed necessary by
25the department.

26Section 5. Financial assistance.

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

1veteran in the form of a housing rental voucher payable to the
2lessor named in any leasing document executed between the
3veteran and a landlord.

4(b) Amount.--The monthly amount of the rental voucher may
5not exceed the costs associated with the rental or $1,000,
6whichever is less.

7(c) Term.--Financial assistance shall be awarded to a
8veteran for the term of the lease executed between the veteran
9and the lessor or for 12 months from the effective date of the
10lease, whichever is less.

11Section 6. Renewal.

12A veteran receiving financial assistance under section 5 may
13seek an extension of the term of the financial assistance by
14filing an application with the department. In determining
15whether to extend the term of the financial assistance, the
16department shall consider the following concerning the

18(1) Employment status.

19(2) Personal finances.

20(3) Compliance with conditions of enrollment placed on
21the veteran under section 4(b).

22Section 7. Cooperation.

23The department and the agency may cooperate with the United
24States Department of Veterans Affairs or local public housing
25authorities to carry out the provisions of this act. At the
26discretion of the department and the agency, the cooperation may
27include coordinating the program with any existing Federal
28program that provides funding for housing for homeless veterans,
29including the United States Department of Housing and Urban
30Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)


2Section 8. Appropriations.

3(a) Agency.--The sum of $12,500,000 is appropriated from the
4General Fund to the agency for the period of July 1, 2014, to
5June 30, 2015, for purposes of providing financial assistance to
6homeless veterans and carrying out the agency's responsibilities
7under this act. Not more than $500,000 of the funds appropriated
8under this section may be used for administrative costs incurred
9by the agency to carry out this act.

10(b) Department.--The sum of $500,000 is appropriated from
11the General Fund to the department for the period of July 1,
122014, to June 30, 2015, for purposes of carrying out the
13department's responsibilities under this act.

14Section 20. Effective date.

15This act shall take effect in 60 days.