NCH Homeless Hotline 12-3-97 (fwd)

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 4 Dec 1997 06:57:29 -0800 (PST)


NCH Homeless Hotline - 12-3-97 (fwd)

This homeless hotline contains information on the FY99 Budget and Homelessness,
OSHA Tuberculosis Standard for Shelters and HCH Projects, and the HUD McKinney
Homeless Assistance Consolidation.

***

_FY99 Budget and Homelessness_

Despite HUD's recommendation to double the funding for the McKinney Homeless
Assistance programs in the FY99 budget to $1.6 billion, the White House has
proposed flat-funding the HUD McKinney programs at $823 million and adding $181
million for 32,000 Section 8 vouchers for homeless persons who are chronically
mentally ill. The proposed FY99 funding level for homeless assistance programs
is 27% lower than the FY95 level -- despite reports of increasing homelessness
nationwide. While NCH is pleased that some permanent housing for homeless
mentally ill persons will be provided, the proposed FY99 budget provides no new
assistance for other growing populations of persons experiencing homelessness.
Because much of the homeless assistance appropriation will have to be spent on
renewing existing projects, an increased appropriation is necessary to address
the critical housing needs of the growing number of homeless families and
individuals. Yet the President has once again proposed grossly inadequate
funding levels for homeless assistance programs.

Recommended Action:

The President will release his official FY99 budget no later than the first
Monday of February. We must all act vigorously and consistently now to obtain
support from the White House. Please fax or write to:

Franklin Raines, Office of Management and Budget, Fax: (202) 395-3888

Michael Deich, Office of Management and Budget, Fax: (202) 395-4639

Gene Sperling, National Economic Council, Fax:   (202) 456-2878

President Clinton, Fax: (202) 456-2461

These persons may be written at: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington,
DC 20500

***

_OSHA Tuberculosis Standard for Shelters and HCH Projects_

In the October 17 issue of the Federal Register, the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) published its Proposed Standard on Occupational
Exposure to Tuberculosis.  The standard directly addresses employee exposure
to Tuberculosis (TB) in hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, substance
abuse treatment facilities and other workplaces.  If adopted, the standard will
require shelters and HCH programs to adopt significant engineering and
procedural measures designed to reduce the risk of tuberculosis infection. The
proposed standard would dramatically affect the provision of services to
homeless people.

OSHA anticipates that homeless shelters and substance abuse treatment centers
will use "early identification and transfer procedures for individuals with
suspected or confirmed infectious TB."  For these work settings, employers must
[partial list]:

*make a formal determination regarding occupational exposure to
TB for employees in various job classifications or performing
certain duties;

* use procedures to promptly identify individuals with suspected
or confirmed infectious TB;

* mask or segregate such individuals;

* transfer such individuals to facilities with isolation rooms within
five hours of identification;

* provide temporary isolation (in rooms with engineering controls
such as negative pressure, direct exhaust or HEPA filtration)
if transfer cannot be accomplished within five hours of identification;

* provide respirators for employees who enter a temporary isolation
area or who work in an area where an unmasked individual with
suspected or confirmed infectious TB is segregated and awaiting transfer;

* assure proper fit and usage of the respirator;

* provide medical surveillance, including physicals and skin tests,
for employees who are occupationally exposed, and maintain records
of the medical surveillance for 30 years;

* follow detailed procedures following exposure incidents, which
may include "medical removal" of certain employees and paid leave for up to 18
months;


* label segregation and isolation areas and ventilation systems;
and

* provide appropriate training of staff and maintenance of engineering
controls.

The full text of the standard can be found at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html or in libraries that provide
the Federal Register.

Recommended Action:

Because of TB's deadly connection to homelessness and because of the standard's
potential impact on program and facility operations, it is vital that homeless
people, service providers, advocates, funders, public health authorities
and local governments become familiar with OSHA's proposal and provide comments
to OSHA by December 16, 1997.

Informal public hearings on the proposal begin on February 3, 1998, in
Washington DC and may occur at other locations around the country.  Written
comments and notices of intent to appear at public hearings are due to
OSHA by December 16, 1997. OSHA intends to convene a special public hearing on
"homeless shelters"; parties interested in this special hearing must so indicate
in their notice of intent to appear.

Comments on the proposed standard, Notices of Intention to Appear at the
informal public hearings, testimony, and documentary evidence are to be
submitted in quadruplicate to the Docket Officer, Docket No. H­371, Room
N­2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington,
DC 20210, telephone (202) 219-7894.  Comments of 10 pages
or fewer may be transmitted by fax to (202) 219-5046, provided
the original and three copies are sent to the Docket Officer thereafter.

For more information on the proposed standard and on OSHA's requests for
comments, please read the Health Care for the Homeless Mobilizer at
http://www.nashville.net/~hch/mobilizer/novmobilizer.html or contact the
National Health Care for the Homeless Council at hch@nashville.net.  Please
contact the National Health Care for the Homeless Council if you wish
to help develop an appropriate response to the problem of tuberculosis
among homeless people.

***

_HUD McKinney Homeless Assistance Consolidation Act_

The House Banking and Financial Services Committee marked up H.R. 217, the
Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act, on November 5. H.R.
217 revises the McKinney homeless funding administered by the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The proposal would distribute the bulk of
the funds through block grants to cities and states, with another portion
distributed through national competition.

NCH has prepared a chart comparing the original legislation introduced in
January with the legislation passed by the full Committee on November 5 and
providing NCH's analysis of the legislation. The chart is available at
http://nch.ari.net/hr217sbs.html

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing
Opportunity and Community Development will hold a symposium on the
reauthorization of HUD McKinney Assistance programs on December 16, 1997.

Recommended Action:

Please call your Senators and members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs Subcommittee on Housing Opportunity and Community Development and
provide them with your reflections on the reauthorization of the HUD McKinney
programs. NCH Executive Director Mary Ann Gleason will be on the panel at the
Senate symposium and would appreciate any copies of letters sent to Senators
about the McKinney reauthorization. Please fax letters to Ms. Gleason's
attention at 202-775-1316, or email nch@ari.net. All Members of Congress may be
reached through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

or a more detailed analysis of the HUD McKinney reauthorization and NCH
recommendations, please see NCH's Position Paper on HUD McKinney Reauthorization
and NCH Executive Director Mary Ann Gleason's testimony before the House Banking
and Financial Services committee, both at http://nch.ari.net/legislat.html.

For more detailed information, please visit the NCH web site at
http://nch.ari.net or call NCH at 202-775-1322.

Connect Mail Sent: December 3, 1997      1:39 pm PST   Item: R00zQJ3

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