CS/HB 241

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to homelessness; creating s. 414.161,
3F.S.; establishing a homelessness prevention grant
4program; requiring grant applicants to be ranked
5competitively; providing preference for certain grant
6applicants; providing eligibility requirements; providing
7grant limitations and restrictions; requiring lead
8agencies for local homeless assistance continuum of care
9to track, monitor, and report on assisted families for a
10specified period of time; amending s. 420.507, F.S.;
11conforming a cross-reference; amending s. 420.621, F.S.;
12conforming a cross-reference; revising, providing, and
13deleting definitions; amending s. 420.622, F.S.;
14increasing and revising membership on the Council on
15Homelessness; removing a member from an obsolete
16organization; correcting the name of a member organization
17on the council; revising the date of an annual report;
18amending s. 420.625, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference;
19creating s. 420.6275, F.S.; creating the Housing First
20program; providing legislative findings and intent;
21providing methodology; providing components of the
22program; creating s. 420.628, F.S.; providing legislative
23findings and intent; amending s. 1003.01, F.S.; revising a
24definition; amending ss. 1003.21, F.S.; conforming
25terminology; providing a school attendance exemption for
26certain children in foster care; amending s. 1003.22,
27F.S.; conforming terminology; providing a school
28certification of a school-entry health examination
29exemption for certain children in foster care; repealing
30s. 414.16, F.S., relating to emergency assistance program;
31providing an effective date.
33Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
35     Section 1.  Section 414.161, Florida Statutes, is created
36to read:
37     414.161  Homelessness prevention grants.--
38     (1)  ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.--There is hereby created a
39grant program to provide emergency financial assistance to
40families facing the loss of their current home due to a
41financial or other crisis. The State Office on Homelessness,
42with the concurrence of the Council on Homelessness, may accept
43and administer moneys appropriated to it to provide homelessness
44prevention grants annually to lead agencies for local homeless
45assistance continuum of care, as recognized by the State Office
46on Homelessness. These moneys shall consist of any sums that the
47state may appropriate, as well as money received from donations,
48gifts, bequests, or otherwise from any public or private source
49that is intended to assist families to prevent them from
50becoming homeless.
51     (2)  GRANT APPLICATIONS.--Grant applicants shall be ranked
52competitively. Preference shall be given to applicants who
53leverage additional private funds and public funds, who
54demonstrate the effectiveness of their homelessness prevention
55programs in keeping families housed, and who demonstrate the
56commitment of other assistance and services to address the
57family's health, employment, and education needs.
58     (3)  ELIGIBILITY.--In order to qualify for a grant, a lead
59agency must develop and implement a local homeless assistance
60continuum of care plan for its designated catchment area. The
61homelessness prevention program must be included in the
62continuum of care plan.
63     (4)  GRANT LIMITS.--The maximum grant amount per lead
64agency may not exceed $300,000. The grant assistance may be used
65to pay past due rent or mortgage payments, past due utility
66costs, other past due bills creating the family's financial
67crisis, provision of case management services, and program
68administration costs not to exceed 3 percent of the grant award.
69The homelessness prevention program must develop a case plan for
70each family to be assisted setting forth which costs will be
71covered and the maximum level of assistance to be offered.
72     (5)  PERFORMANCE.--The lead agency shall be required to
73track, monitor, and report on the families assisted for at least
7412 months following the last assistance provided to the family.
75The goal for the homelessness prevention program shall be to
76enable at least 85 percent of the families assisted to remain in
77their home and avoid becoming homeless during the ensuing year.
78     Section 2.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (22) of section
79420.507, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
80     420.507  Powers of the corporation.--The corporation shall
81have all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out and
82effectuate the purposes and provisions of this part, including
83the following powers which are in addition to all other powers
84granted by other provisions of this part:
85     (22)  To develop and administer the State Apartment
86Incentive Loan Program. In developing and administering that
87program, the corporation may:
88     (a)  Make first, second, and other subordinated mortgage
89loans including variable or fixed rate loans subject to
90contingent interest for all State Apartment Incentive Loans
91provided for in this chapter based upon available cash flow of
92the projects. The corporation shall make loans exceeding 25
93percent of project cost available only to nonprofit
94organizations and public bodies which are able to secure grants,
95donations of land, or contributions from other sources and to
96projects meeting the criteria of subparagraph 1. Mortgage loans
97shall be made available at the following rates of interest:
98     1.  Zero to 3 percent interest for sponsors of projects
99that set aside at least 80 percent of their total units for
100residents qualifying as farmworkers as defined in this part, or
101commercial fishing workers as defined in this part, or the
102homeless as defined in s. 420.621(6)(4) over the life of the
104     2.  Zero to 3 percent interest based on the pro rata share
105of units set aside for homeless residents if the total of such
106units is less than 80 percent of the units in the borrower's
108     3.  One to 9 percent interest for sponsors of projects
109targeted at populations other than farmworkers, commercial
110fishing workers, and the homeless.
111     Section 3.  Section 420.621, Florida Statutes, is amended
112to read:
113     420.621  Definitions; ss. 420.621-420.628 420.621-
114420.627.--As used in ss. 420.621-420.628 420.621-420.627, the
115term following terms shall have the following meanings, unless
116the context otherwise requires:
117     (1)  "Children and youths experiencing homelessness," for
118programs authorized under the McKinney-Vento Education
119Assistance for Homeless Children and Youths, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11431
120et seq., means children and youths who lack a fixed, regular,
121and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:
122     (a)  Children and youths who are sharing the housing of
123other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
124similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer
125parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
126adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
127shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster
128care placement.
129     (b)  Children and youths who have a primary nighttime
130residence that is a public or private place not designed for or
131ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human
133     (c)  Children and youths who are living in cars, parks,
134public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or
135similar settings.
136     (d)  Migratory children who are living in circumstances
137described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
138     (2)  "Continuum of care" means a community plan to organize
139and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of
140people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and
141maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end
142homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.
143     (3)  "Council on Homelessness" means the council created in
144s. 420.622.
145     (1)  "AFDC" means Aid to Families with Dependent Children
146as administered under chapter 409.
147     (4)(2)  "Department" means the Department of Children and
148Family Services.
149     (5)(3)  "District" means a service district of the
150department of Children and Family Services, as set forth in s.
152     (6)(4)  "Homeless," applied to an individual, or
153"individual experiencing homelessness" means "Homeless" refers
154to an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate
155nighttime residence and includes or an individual who has a
156primary nighttime residence that is:
157     (a)  Is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of
158housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
159     (b)  Is living in a motel, hotel, travel trailer park, or
160camping ground due to a lack of alternative adequate
162     (c)  Is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; A
163supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to
164provide temporary living accommodations, including welfare
165hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the
166mentally ill;
167     (b)  An institution that provides a temporary residence for
168individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
169     (d)(c)  Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public
170or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a
171regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
172     (e)  Is living in a car, park, public space, abandoned
173building, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
174     (f)  Is a migratory individual who qualifies as homeless
175because he or she is living in circumstances described in
176paragraphs (a)-(e).
178The terms defined in this subsection do term does not refer to
179any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to
180state or federal law. The terms also do not include individuals
181or families who are sharing housing due to cultural preferences,
182voluntary arrangements, and traditional networks of support. The
183terms include an individual who has been released from jail,
184prison, the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, a
185mental health and developmental disability facility, a
186residential addiction treatment program, or a hospital, for whom
187no subsequent residence has been identified, and who lacks the
188resources and support network to obtain housing.
189     (7)(5)  "Local coalition for the homeless" means a
190coalition established pursuant to s. 420.623.
191     (8)(6)  "New and temporary homeless" means those
192individuals or families who are homeless due to societal
193external factors, such as unemployment or other loss of income,
194personal or family-life crises, or the shortage of low-income
196     (9)  "Societal causes of homelessness" means factors such
197as lack of housing for individuals and families with low
198incomes, lack of employment opportunities for those with a high
199school education or less, and lack of day care, transportation,
200and other institutional supports.
201     (10)(7)  "State Office on Homelessness" means the state
202office created in s. 420.622 "Secretary" means the secretary of
203the Department of Children and Family Services.
204     Section 4.  Subsections (2) and (9) of section 420.622,
205Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
206     420.622  State Office on Homelessness; Council on
208     (2)  The Council on Homelessness is created to consist of a
20917-member 15-member council of public and private agency
210representatives who shall develop policy and advise the State
211Office on Homelessness. The council members shall be: the
212Secretary of Children and Family Services, or his or her
213designee; the Secretary of Community Affairs, or his or her
214designee; the State Surgeon General, or his or her designee; the
215Executive Director of Veterans' Affairs, or his or her designee;
216the Secretary of Corrections, or his or her designee; the
217Secretary of Health Care Administration, or his or her designee;
218the Commissioner of Education, or his or her designee; the
219Director of Workforce Florida, Inc., or his or her designee; one
220representative of the Florida Association of Counties; one
221representative from the Florida League of Cities; one
222representative of the Florida Coalition for Supportive Housing
223Coalition; the Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance
224Corporation, or his or her designee; one representative of the
225Florida Coalition for the Homeless; one representative of the
226Florida State Rural Development Council; and four members
227appointed by the Governor. The council members shall be
228volunteer, nonpaid persons and shall be reimbursed for travel
229expenses only. The appointed members of the council shall serve
230staggered 2-year terms, and the council shall meet at least four
231times per year. The importance of minority, gender, and
232geographic representation must be considered when appointing
233members to the council.
234     (9)  The council shall, by June 30 December 31 of each
235year, beginning in 2008, issue to the Governor, the President of
236the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the
237Secretary of Children and Family Services an evaluation of the
238executive director's performance in fulfilling the statutory
239duties of the office, a report summarizing the council's
240recommendations to the office and the corresponding actions
241taken by the office, and any recommendations to the Legislature
242for proposals to reduce homelessness in this state.
243     Section 5.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (3) of section
244420.625, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
245     420.625  Grant-in-aid program.--
246     (3)  ESTABLISHMENT.--There is hereby established a grant-
247in-aid program to help local communities in serving the needs of
248the homeless through a variety of supportive services, which may
249include, but are not limited to:
250     (d)  Emergency financial assistance for persons who are
251totally without shelter or facing loss of shelter, but who are
252not eligible for such assistance under s. 414.16.
253     Section 6.  Section 420.6275, Florida Statutes, is created
254to read:
255     420.6275  Housing First.--
257     (a)  The Legislature finds that many communities plan to
258manage homelessness rather than plan to end it.
259     (b)  The Legislature also finds that for most of the past
260two decades, public and private solutions to homelessness have
261focused on providing individuals and families who are
262experiencing homelessness with emergency shelter, transitional
263housing, or a combination of both. While emergency shelter
264programs may provide critical access to services for individuals
265and families in crisis, they often fail to address the long-term
266needs of those who are homeless.
267     (c)  The Legislature further finds that Housing First is an
268alternative approach to the current system of emergency shelter
269or transitional housing which tends to reduce the length of time
270of homelessness and has proven to be cost-effective to homeless
272     (d)  It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to
273encourage local coalitions for the homeless, established
274pursuant to s. 420.623, to adopt the Housing First approach to
275ending homelessness for individuals and families.
277     (a)  The Housing First approach to homelessness differs
278from traditional approaches by providing housing assistance,
279case management, and support services responsive to individual
280or family needs after housing is obtained. By using the Housing
281First approach when appropriate, communities can significantly
282reduce the amount of time that individuals and families are
283homeless and prevent further episodes of homelessness. Housing
284First emphasizes that social services provided to enhance
285individual and family well-being can be more effective when
286people are in their own home, and:
287     1.  The housing is not time-limited.
288     2.  The housing is not contingent on compliance with
289services. Instead, participants must comply with a standard
290lease agreement and are provided with the services and support
291that are necessary to help them do so successfully.
292     (b)  The Housing First approach addresses the societal
293causes of homelessness and advocates for the immediate return of
294individuals and families back into housing and communities.
295Housing First provides a critical link between the emergency and
296transitional housing system and community-based social service,
297educational, and health care organizations and consists of four
299     1.  Crisis intervention and short-term stabilization.
300     2.  Screening, intake, and needs assessment.
301     3.  Provision of housing resources.
302     4.  Provision of case management.
303     Section 7.  Section 420.628, Florida Statutes, is created
304to read:
305     420.628  Children and young adults leaving foster care;
306legislative findings and intent.--
307     (1)  The Legislature finds that the transition from
308childhood to adulthood is filled with opportunity and risk. Most
309young people who receive adequate support make this transition
310successfully and will become healthy adults who will be prepared
311for work and be able to become responsible, fulfilled members of
312their families and communities.
313     (2)  The Legislature finds that there are also many young
314people who will enter adulthood without the knowledge, skills,
315attitudes, habits, and relationships that will enable them to be
316productive members of society. Those young people, who through
317no fault of their own, live in foster families, group homes, and
318institutions are among those at greatest risk.
319     (3)  The Legislature finds that these young people face
320numerous barriers to a successful transition to adulthood. Those
321barriers include changes in foster care placements and schools,
322limited opportunities for participation in age-appropriate
323normal activities, and the inability to achieve economic
324stability, make connections with permanent supportive adults or
325family, and access housing. The main barriers to safe and
326affordable housing for youth aging out of the foster care system
327are cost, lack of availability, the unwillingness of many
328landlords to rent to them, and their own lack of knowledge about
329how to be good tenants.
330     (4)  The Legislature also finds that young adults who
331emancipate from the child welfare system are at risk of becoming
332homeless and those who were formerly in foster care are
333disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Only
334about two-fifths of eligible young people receive independent
335living services and, of those who do, few receive adequate
336housing assistance. Without the stability of safe housing all
337other services, training, and opportunities may not be
339     (5)  The Legislature further finds that research on young
340people who emancipate from foster care suggests a nexus between
341foster care involvement and later episodes of homelessness and
342that interventions in the foster care system might help to
343prevent homelessness. Responding to the needs of young people
344leaving the foster care system with developmentally appropriate
345supportive housing models organized in a continuum of decreasing
346supervision may increase their ability to live independently in
347the future.
348     (6)  It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to
349encourage the Department of Children and Family Services, its
350agents, and community-based care providers operating pursuant to
351s. 409.1671, to develop and implement procedures designed to
352reduce the number of young adults who become homeless after
353leaving the child welfare system.
354     Section 8.  Subsection (12) of section 1003.01, Florida
355Statutes, is amended to read:
356     1003.01  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:
357     (12)  "Children and youths who are experiencing
358homelessness," for programs authorized under subtitle B,
359Education for Homeless Children and Youths, of title VII of the
360McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11431 et
361seq., means children and youths who lack a fixed, regular, and
362adequate nighttime residence; and includes:
363     (a)  Children and youths who are sharing the housing of
364other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
365similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer
366parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
367adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
368shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster
369care placement.
370     (b)  Children and youths who have a primary nighttime
371residence that is a public or private place not designed for or
372ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human
374     (c)  Children and youths who are living in cars, parks,
375public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or
376similar settings.
377     (d)  Migratory children who are living in circumstances
378described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
379     (12)  "Homeless child" means:
380     (a)  One who lacks a fixed, regular nighttime residence;
381     (b)  One who has a primary nighttime residence that is:
382     1.  A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter
383designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including
384welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing
385for the mentally ill;
386     2.  An institution that provides a temporary residence for
387individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
388     3.  A public or private place not designed for, or
389ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human
390beings; or
391     (c)  One who temporarily resides with an adult other than
392his or her parent because the parent is suffering financial
395A child who is imprisoned, detained, or in the custody of the
396state pursuant to a state or federal law is not a homeless
398     Section 9.  Paragraph (f) of subsection (1) and paragraph
399(g) of subsection (4) of section 1003.21, Florida Statutes, are
400amended to read:
401     1003.21  School attendance.--
402     (1)
403     (f)  Children and youths who are experiencing homelessness
404Homeless children, as defined in s. 1003.01, must have access to
405a free public education and must be admitted to school in the
406school district in which they or their families live. School
407districts shall assist such homeless children to meet the
408requirements of subsection (4) and s. 1003.22, as well as local
409requirements for documentation.
410     (4)  Before admitting a child to kindergarten, the
411principal shall require evidence that the child has attained the
412age at which he or she should be admitted in accordance with the
413provisions of subparagraph (1)(a)2. The district school
414superintendent may require evidence of the age of any child whom
415he or she believes to be within the limits of compulsory
416attendance as provided for by law. If the first prescribed
417evidence is not available, the next evidence obtainable in the
418order set forth below shall be accepted:
419     (g)  If none of these evidences can be produced, an
420affidavit of age sworn to by the parent, accompanied by a
421certificate of age signed by a public health officer or by a
422public school physician, or, if neither of these is available in
423the county, by a licensed practicing physician designated by the
424district school board, which certificate states that the health
425officer or physician has examined the child and believes that
426the age as stated in the affidavit is substantially correct.
427Children and youths who are experiencing homelessness A homeless
428child, as defined in s. 1003.01, and children who are in foster
429care until the time of achieving either reunification or a
430permanent placement shall be given temporary exemption from this
431section for 30 school days.
432     Section 10.  Subsection (1) and paragraph (e) of subsection
433(5) of section 1003.22, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
434     1003.22  School-entry health examinations; immunization
435against communicable diseases; exemptions; duties of Department
436of Health.--
437     (1)  Each district school board and the governing authority
438of each private school shall require that each child who is
439entitled to admittance to kindergarten, or is entitled to any
440other initial entrance into a public or private school in this
441state, present a certification of a school-entry health
442examination performed within 1 year prior to enrollment in
443school. Each district school board, and the governing authority
444of each private school, may establish a policy that permits a
445student up to 30 school days to present a certification of a
446school-entry health examination. Children and youths who are
447experiencing homelessness A homeless child, as defined in s.
4481003.01, and children who are in foster care until the time of
449achieving either reunification or a permanent placement shall be
450given a temporary exemption for 30 school days. Any district
451school board that establishes such a policy shall include
452provisions in its local school health services plan to assist
453students in obtaining the health examinations. However, any
454child shall be exempt from the requirement of a health
455examination upon written request of the parent of the child
456stating objections to the examination on religious grounds.
457     (5)  The provisions of this section shall not apply if:
458     (e)  An authorized school official issues a temporary
459exemption, for a period not to exceed 30 school days, to permit
460a student who transfers into a new county to attend class until
461his or her records can be obtained. Children and youths who are
462experiencing homelessness A homeless child, as defined in s.
4631003.01, and children who are in foster care until the time of
464achieving either reunification or a permanent placement shall be
465given a temporary exemption for 30 school days. The public
466school health nurse or authorized private school official is
467responsible for followup of each such student until proper
468documentation or immunizations are obtained. An exemption for 30
469days may be issued for a student who enters a juvenile justice
470program to permit the student to attend class until his or her
471records can be obtained or until the immunizations can be
472obtained. An authorized juvenile justice official is responsible
473for followup of each student who enters a juvenile justice
474program until proper documentation or immunizations are
476     Section 11.  Section 414.16, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
477     Section 12.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

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