Section 4 of Compact Impact Relief Act of 2016 included in broader housing reform bill
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today offered an amendment to H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015, to fix a misinterpretation of law and give U.S. citizens and nationals a preference over migrants from the Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia when receiving Federal housing assistance. Her amendment is similar to section 4 of her recently introduced Compact Impact Relief Act of 2016. The amendment addresses concerns from GHURA that HUD’s new interpretation of law could negatively impact Guam residents in favor of Compact migrants when receiving housing assistance.
The amendment was agreed to by voice vote and included with an amendment offered by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas. H.R. 3700 passed the House by a vote of 427 to 0 and now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
“I continue to support allowing COFA migrants to receive housing assistance, otherwise our housing situation in Guam and other affected jurisdictions would get even worse. However, it was not the intent of Congress to displace our citizens when it extended eligibility to migrants in 2000. Unfortunately limited resources have led many U.S. citizens in Guam to be displaced by COFA migrants who have entered our country as a result of the Compacts of Free Association.
“I am concerned by GHURA’s indication that demand for housing assistance far outweighs the resources available, and that the current waitlist for housing assistance could take years to clear. As our local media has recently reported, homeless data show that local residents of Guam make up over forty percent of the homeless on Guam and this is simply unacceptable. Given the change in interpretation by HUD, GHURA is proposing a lottery program to provide housing assistance to all eligible individuals and families. We developed housing assistance programs to provide our citizens with help when they most need it. We cannot let a misinterpretation of the law force these citizens to bet on such help. I thank the gentlelady from Texas, Rep. Jackson-Lee, for her help in passing this amendment, and I look forward to it helping to address local concerns on housing assistance.”