HB 241

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to homelessness; amending s. 420.507,
3F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; amending s. 420.621,
4F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; revising, providing,
5and deleting definitions; amending s. 420.622, F.S.;
6increasing and revising membership on the Council on
7Homelessness; removing a member from an obsolete
8organization; correcting the name of a member organization
9on the council; revising the date of an annual report;
10creating s. 420.6275, F.S.; creating the Housing First
11program; providing legislative findings and intent;
12providing methodology; providing components of the
13program; creating s. 420.628, F.S.; providing legislative
14findings and intent; creating a 3-year Youth Housing
15Continuum Pilot Program; providing eligibility
16requirements for the pilot program; providing for the
17design of the pilot program; requiring Connected by 25 in
18Hillsborough County to provide administrative support;
19providing Connected by 25 with specified duties; providing
20reporting requirements; amending s. 1003.01, F.S.;
21revising a definition; amending ss. 1003.21 and 1003.22,
22F.S.; conforming terminology; providing an appropriation;
23providing an effective date.
25Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
27     Section 1.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (22) of section
28420.507, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
29     420.507  Powers of the corporation.--The corporation shall
30have all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out and
31effectuate the purposes and provisions of this part, including
32the following powers which are in addition to all other powers
33granted by other provisions of this part:
34     (22)  To develop and administer the State Apartment
35Incentive Loan Program. In developing and administering that
36program, the corporation may:
37     (a)  Make first, second, and other subordinated mortgage
38loans including variable or fixed rate loans subject to
39contingent interest for all State Apartment Incentive Loans
40provided for in this chapter based upon available cash flow of
41the projects. The corporation shall make loans exceeding 25
42percent of project cost available only to nonprofit
43organizations and public bodies which are able to secure grants,
44donations of land, or contributions from other sources and to
45projects meeting the criteria of subparagraph 1. Mortgage loans
46shall be made available at the following rates of interest:
47     1.  Zero to 3 percent interest for sponsors of projects
48that set aside at least 80 percent of their total units for
49residents qualifying as farmworkers as defined in this part, or
50commercial fishing workers as defined in this part, or the
51homeless as defined in s. 420.621(6)(4) over the life of the
53     2.  Zero to 3 percent interest based on the pro rata share
54of units set aside for homeless residents if the total of such
55units is less than 80 percent of the units in the borrower's
57     3.  One to 9 percent interest for sponsors of projects
58targeted at populations other than farmworkers, commercial
59fishing workers, and the homeless.
60     Section 2.  Section 420.621, Florida Statutes, is amended
61to read:
62     420.621  Definitions; ss. 420.621-420.628 420.621-
63420.627.--As used in ss. 420.621-420.628 420.621-420.627, the
64term following terms shall have the following meanings, unless
65the context otherwise requires:
66     (1)  "Children and youths experiencing homelessness," for
67programs authorized under the McKinney-Vento Education
68Assistance for Homeless Children and Youths, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11431
69et seq., means children and youths who lack a fixed, regular,
70and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:
71     (a)  Children and youths who are sharing the housing of
72other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
73similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer
74parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
75adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
76shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster
77care placement.
78     (b)  Children and youths who have a primary nighttime
79residence that is a public or private place not designed for or
80ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human
82     (c)  Children and youths who are living in cars, parks,
83public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or
84similar settings.
85     (d)  Migratory children who are living in circumstances
86described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
87     (2)  "Continuum of care" means a community plan to organize
88and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of
89people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and
90maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end
91homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.
92     (3)  "Council on Homelessness" means the council created in
93s. 420.622.
94     (1)  "AFDC" means Aid to Families with Dependent Children
95as administered under chapter 409.
96     (4)(2)  "Department" means the Department of Children and
97Family Services.
98     (5)(3)  "District" means a service district of the
99department of Children and Family Services, as set forth in s.
101     (6)(4)  "Homeless," applied to an individual, or
102"individual experiencing homelessness" means "Homeless" refers
103to an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate
104nighttime residence and includes or an individual who has a
105primary nighttime residence that is:
106     (a)  Is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of
107housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
108     (b)  Is living in a motel, hotel, travel trailer park, or
109camping ground due to a lack of alternative adequate
111     (c)  Is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; A
112supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to
113provide temporary living accommodations, including welfare
114hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the
115mentally ill;
116     (b)  An institution that provides a temporary residence for
117individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
118     (d)(c)  Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public
119or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a
120regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
121     (e)  Is living in a car, park, public space, abandoned
122building, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
123     (f)  Is a migratory individual who qualifies as homeless
124because he or she is living in circumstances described in
125paragraphs (a)-(e).
127The terms defined in this subsection do term does not refer to
128any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to
129state or federal law. The terms also do not include individuals
130or families who are sharing housing due to cultural preferences,
131voluntary arrangements, and traditional networks of support. The
132terms include an individual who has been released from jail,
133prison, the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, a
134mental health and developmental disability facility, a
135residential addiction treatment program, or a hospital, for whom
136no subsequent residence has been identified, and who lacks the
137resources and support network to obtain housing.
138     (7)(5)  "Local coalition for the homeless" means a
139coalition established pursuant to s. 420.623.
140     (8)(6)  "New and temporary homeless" means those
141individuals or families who are homeless due to societal
142external factors, such as unemployment or other loss of income,
143personal or family-life crises, or the shortage of low-income
145     (9)  "Societal causes of homelessness" means factors such
146as lack of housing for individuals and families with low
147incomes, lack of employment opportunities for those with a high
148school education or less, and lack of day care, transportation,
149and other institutional supports.
150     (10)(7)  "State Office on Homelessness" means the state
151office created in s. 420.622 "Secretary" means the secretary of
152the Department of Children and Family Services.
153     Section 3.  Subsections (2) and (9) of section 420.622,
154Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
155     420.622  State Office on Homelessness; Council on
157     (2)  The Council on Homelessness is created to consist of a
15817-member 15-member council of public and private agency
159representatives who shall develop policy and advise the State
160Office on Homelessness. The council members shall be: the
161Secretary of Children and Family Services, or his or her
162designee; the Secretary of Community Affairs, or his or her
163designee; the State Surgeon General, or his or her designee; the
164Executive Director of Veterans' Affairs, or his or her designee;
165the Secretary of Corrections, or his or her designee; the
166Secretary of Health Care Administration, or his or her designee;
167the Commissioner of Education, or his or her designee; the
168Director of Workforce Florida, Inc., or his or her designee; one
169representative of the Florida Association of Counties; one
170representative from the Florida League of Cities; one
171representative of the Florida Coalition for Supportive Housing
172Coalition; the Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance
173Corporation, or his or her designee; one representative of the
174Florida Coalition for the Homeless; one representative of the
175Florida State Rural Development Council; and four members
176appointed by the Governor. The council members shall be
177volunteer, nonpaid persons and shall be reimbursed for travel
178expenses only. The appointed members of the council shall serve
179staggered 2-year terms, and the council shall meet at least four
180times per year. The importance of minority, gender, and
181geographic representation must be considered when appointing
182members to the council.
183     (9)  The council shall, by June 30 December 31 of each
184year, beginning in 2008, issue to the Governor, the President of
185the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the
186Secretary of Children and Family Services an evaluation of the
187executive director's performance in fulfilling the statutory
188duties of the office, a report summarizing the council's
189recommendations to the office and the corresponding actions
190taken by the office, and any recommendations to the Legislature
191for proposals to reduce homelessness in this state.
192     Section 4.  Section 420.6275, Florida Statutes, is created
193to read:
194     420.6275  Housing First.--
196     (a)  The Legislature finds that many communities plan to
197manage homelessness rather than plan to end it.
198     (b)  The Legislature also finds that for most of the past
199two decades, public and private solutions to homelessness have
200focused on providing individuals and families who are
201experiencing homelessness with emergency shelter, transitional
202housing, or a combination of both. While emergency shelter
203programs may provide critical access to services for individuals
204and families in crisis, they often fail to address the long-term
205needs of those who are homeless.
206     (c)  The Legislature further finds that Housing First is an
207alternative approach to the current system of emergency shelter
208or transitional housing which tends to reduce the length of time
209of homelessness and has proven to be cost-effective to homeless
211     (d)  It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to
212encourage local coalitions for the homeless, established
213pursuant to s. 420.623, to adopt the Housing First approach to
214ending homelessness for individuals and families.
216     (a)  The Housing First approach to homelessness differs
217from traditional approaches by providing housing assistance,
218case management, and support services responsive to individual
219or family needs after housing is obtained. By using the Housing
220First approach when appropriate, communities can significantly
221reduce the amount of time that individuals and families are
222homeless and prevent further episodes of homelessness. Housing
223First emphasizes that social services provided to enhance
224individual and family well-being can be more effective when
225people are in their own home, and:
226     1.  The housing is not time-limited.
227     2.  The housing is not contingent on compliance with
228services. Instead, participants must comply with a standard
229lease agreement and are provided with the services and support
230that are necessary to help them do so successfully.
231     (b)  The Housing First approach addresses the societal
232causes of homelessness and advocates for the immediate return of
233individuals and families back into housing and communities.
234Housing First provides a critical link between the emergency and
235transitional housing system and community-based social service,
236educational, and health care organizations and consists of four
238     1.  Crisis intervention and short-term stabilization.
239     2.  Screening, intake, and needs assessment.
240     3.  Provision of housing resources.
241     4.  Provision of case management.
242     Section 5.  Section 420.628, Florida Statutes, is created
243to read:
244     420.628  Children and young adults leaving foster care.--
246     (a)  The Legislature finds that the transition from
247childhood to adulthood is filled with opportunity and risk. Most
248young people who receive adequate support make this transition
249successfully and will become healthy adults who will be prepared
250for work and be able to become responsible, fulfilled members of
251their families and communities.
252     (b)  The Legislature finds that there are also many young
253people who will enter adulthood without the knowledge, skills,
254attitudes, habits, and relationships that will enable them to be
255productive members of society. Those young people, who through
256no fault of their own, live in foster families, group homes, and
257institutions are among those at greatest risk.
258     (c)  The Legislature finds that these young people face
259numerous barriers to a successful transition to adulthood. Those
260barriers include changes in foster care placements and schools,
261limited opportunities for participation in age-appropriate
262normal activities, and the inability to achieve economic
263stability, make connections with permanent supportive adults or
264family, and access housing. The main barriers to safe and
265affordable housing for youth aging out of the foster care system
266are cost, lack of availability, the unwillingness of many
267landlords to rent to them, and their own lack of knowledge about
268how to be good tenants.
269     (d)  The Legislature also finds that young adults who
270emancipate from the child welfare system are at risk of becoming
271homeless and those who were formerly in foster care are
272disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Only
273about two-fifths of eligible young people receive independent
274living services and, of those who do, few receive adequate
275housing assistance. Without the stability of safe housing all
276other services, training, and opportunities may not be
278     (e)  The Legislature further finds that research on young
279people who emancipate from foster care suggests a nexus between
280foster care involvement and later episodes of homelessness and
281that interventions in the foster care system might help to
282prevent homelessness. Responding to the needs of young people
283leaving the foster care system with developmentally appropriate
284supportive housing models organized in a continuum of decreasing
285supervision may increase their ability to live independently in
286the future.
287     (f)  It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to
288encourage the Department of Children and Family Services, its
289agents, and community-based care providers operating pursuant to
290s. 409.1671, to develop and implement procedures designed to
291reduce the number of young adults who become homeless after
292leaving the child welfare system.
294young people is by nature transitional. Most young people in
295their late teens through mid-twenties are housed in college
296dormitories or shared or studio apartments or continue to live
297at home. Commonly, young people move through a number of such
298interim housing situations as they grow into adulthood. Many
299older teens and young adults who leave foster care at the age of
30018 do not have the opportunity for those usual transitions and
301as a result are at risk for becoming homeless.
302     (a)  Creation of pilot program; eligibility.--There is
303created a 3-year Youth Housing Continuum Pilot Program in
304Hillsborough County. The purpose of the program is to support
305the development and implementation of a transitional living or
306subsidized independent living housing experience for those young
307people aging out of foster care who will not have the option of
308remaining in a foster care family home or in a group home, to
309facilitate a smooth transition from foster home or group home
310living to independent living. The pilot program shall serve at
311least 100 young adults, and eligibility requirements shall
313     1.  Young adults who turn 18 years of age while in licensed
314foster care and have been in foster care for at least 12 months
315prior to turning 18 years of age. The 12-month requirement shall
316be waived in circumstances where the requirements of s.
31739.701(6)(a)8. have not been met, no subsequent residence has
318been identified, and the young person lacks the resources and
319support network to obtain housing.
320     2.  Priority shall be given to those young persons who are
321attending high school and can demonstrate either through
322documentation of school attendance or engagement in
323extracurricular activities that a displacement from school would
324have an adverse effect on their ability to achieve their
325educational goals.
326     3.  Other participants shall be chosen based on their
327eligibility pursuant to s. 409.1451(2) and documented enrollment
328in a full-time adult educational or postsecondary educational or
329vocational program or a combination of employment and part-time
330enrollment in an educational program.
331     (b)  Pilot program design.--There shall be a youth housing
332continuum that incorporates various types of housing without
333predetermined time limits to allow young adults to transition
334from one housing program to another according to their
335individual developmental capacities. Based upon the needs and
336preferences of a given young adult, such housing could take any
337number of forms from shared homes to scattered-site, independent
338apartments with or without roommates. Young adults should have
339the flexibility to move among housing programs as they gain
340independent living skills and economic stability, including the
341ability to reenter housing programs and move back along the
342continuum if their current needs or abilities change. The
343continuum in the pilot program will consist of the following
344three levels of decreasing supervision:
345     1.  Supervised living for young adults who have reached 18
346years of age, but are not yet 24 years of age, who cannot
347adequately manage their affairs and need constant, consistent
348adult supervision, training, and support. Each participant shall
349have his or her own bedroom and bathroom and share a common
350living area.
351     2.  Monitored living for young adults who have reached 18
352years of age, but are not yet 24 years of age, who can typically
353manage their own affairs but need regular adult monitoring.
354Housing will be provided in scattered sites throughout the
355community with support staff working regularly with participants
356to address their educational, employment, and financial
357stability goals. Each participant shall have his or her own
358bedroom and bathroom and share an apartment with one to three
360     3.  Independent living for young adults who have the
361ability to live on their own with access to support services as
363     (c)  Pilot program administration; duties;
364report.--Connected by 25 in Hillsborough County shall provide
365administrative support for and shall be responsible for the
366operation for the Youth Housing Continuum Pilot Program.
367Connected by 25 shall:
368     1.  Create and implement a transitional housing continuum
369in which young persons who meet the eligibility criteria of this
370subsection will receive support while participating in an
371educational or training program, or any activity consistent with
372their independent living transitional services case plan.
373     2.  Provide each program participant with a transition and
374aftercare specialist to provide transitional support services.
375Each participant, in partnership with the transition and
376aftercare specialist, shall develop a transition plan that is
377specific to his or her efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.
378     3.  Require that each participant complete a comprehensive
379financial literacy and asset development training program and be
380enrolled in the Connected by 25 match savings program that
381utilizes private dollars to match, on a one-to-one basis, the
382savings of each participant up to $1,000 each year. This
383requirement will prepare program participants for economic
384success as they age out of the foster care system.
385     (d)  Annual reports.--Beginning January 1, 2008, and
386continuing for the duration of the pilot program, Connected by
38725 shall submit to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of
388Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the Secretary
389of Children and Family Services an annual report outlining the
390progress made in the development and implementation of the pilot
391program, including documentation of the outcomes for the
392participants in the areas identified by the Independent Living
393Services Advisory Council pursuant to s. 409.1451, and
394recommendations for pilot program improvement and expansion.
395     Section 6.  Subsection (12) of section 1003.01, Florida
396Statutes, is amended to read:
397     1003.01  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:
398     (12)  "Children and youths who are experiencing
399homelessness," for programs authorized under subtitle B,
400Education for Homeless Children and Youths, of title VII of the
401McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11431 et
402seq., means children and youths who lack a fixed, regular, and
403adequate nighttime residence; and includes:
404     (a)  Children and youths who are sharing the housing of
405other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
406similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer
407parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
408adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
409shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster
410care placement.
411     (b)  Children and youths who have a primary nighttime
412residence that is a public or private place not designed for or
413ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human
415     (c)  Children and youths who are living in cars, parks,
416public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or
417similar settings.
418     (d)  Migratory children who are living in circumstances
419described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
420     (12)  "Homeless child" means:
421     (a)  One who lacks a fixed, regular nighttime residence;
422     (b)  One who has a primary nighttime residence that is:
423     1.  A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter
424designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including
425welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing
426for the mentally ill;
427     2.  An institution that provides a temporary residence for
428individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
429     3.  A public or private place not designed for, or
430ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human
431beings; or
432     (c)  One who temporarily resides with an adult other than
433his or her parent because the parent is suffering financial
436A child who is imprisoned, detained, or in the custody of the
437state pursuant to a state or federal law is not a homeless
439     Section 7.  Paragraph (f) of subsection (1) and paragraph
440(g) of subsection (4) of section 1003.21, Florida Statutes, are
441amended to read:
442     1003.21  School attendance.--
443     (1)
444     (f)  Children and youths who are experiencing homelessness
445Homeless children, as defined in s. 1003.01, must have access to
446a free public education and must be admitted to school in the
447school district in which they or their families live. School
448districts shall assist such homeless children to meet the
449requirements of subsection (4) and s. 1003.22, as well as local
450requirements for documentation.
451     (4)  Before admitting a child to kindergarten, the
452principal shall require evidence that the child has attained the
453age at which he or she should be admitted in accordance with the
454provisions of subparagraph (1)(a)2. The district school
455superintendent may require evidence of the age of any child whom
456he or she believes to be within the limits of compulsory
457attendance as provided for by law. If the first prescribed
458evidence is not available, the next evidence obtainable in the
459order set forth below shall be accepted:
460     (g)  If none of these evidences can be produced, an
461affidavit of age sworn to by the parent, accompanied by a
462certificate of age signed by a public health officer or by a
463public school physician, or, if neither of these is available in
464the county, by a licensed practicing physician designated by the
465district school board, which certificate states that the health
466officer or physician has examined the child and believes that
467the age as stated in the affidavit is substantially correct.
468Children and youths who are experiencing homelessness A homeless
469child, as defined in s. 1003.01, shall be given temporary
470exemption from this section for 30 school days.
471     Section 8.  Subsection (1) and paragraph (e) of subsection
472(5) of section 1003.22, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
473     1003.22  School-entry health examinations; immunization
474against communicable diseases; exemptions; duties of Department
475of Health.--
476     (1)  Each district school board and the governing authority
477of each private school shall require that each child who is
478entitled to admittance to kindergarten, or is entitled to any
479other initial entrance into a public or private school in this
480state, present a certification of a school-entry health
481examination performed within 1 year prior to enrollment in
482school. Each district school board, and the governing authority
483of each private school, may establish a policy that permits a
484student up to 30 school days to present a certification of a
485school-entry health examination. Children and youths who are
486experiencing homelessness A homeless child, as defined in s.
4871003.01, shall be given a temporary exemption for 30 school
488days. Any district school board that establishes such a policy
489shall include provisions in its local school health services
490plan to assist students in obtaining the health examinations.
491However, any child shall be exempt from the requirement of a
492health examination upon written request of the parent of the
493child stating objections to the examination on religious
495     (5)  The provisions of this section shall not apply if:
496     (e)  An authorized school official issues a temporary
497exemption, for a period not to exceed 30 school days, to permit
498a student who transfers into a new county to attend class until
499his or her records can be obtained. Children and youths who are
500experiencing homelessness A homeless child, as defined in s.
5011003.01, shall be given a temporary exemption for 30 school
502days. The public school health nurse or authorized private
503school official is responsible for followup of each such student
504until proper documentation or immunizations are obtained. An
505exemption for 30 days may be issued for a student who enters a
506juvenile justice program to permit the student to attend class
507until his or her records can be obtained or until the
508immunizations can be obtained. An authorized juvenile justice
509official is responsible for followup of each student who enters
510a juvenile justice program until proper documentation or
511immunizations are obtained.
512     Section 9.  The sum of $250,000 in nonrecurring funds is
513appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of
514Children and Family Services for the purposes of implementing
515section 420.628, Florida Statutes, during the 2008-2009 fiscal
517     Section 10.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.