Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint letter reminding recipients of federal funds how the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 applies to their programs.
Through PRWORA, Congress restricted immigrant access to certain federal public benefits but also recognized exceptions to protect life or safety. Congress authorized the Attorney General to identify programs, services, and assistance that meet specific criteria for which immigrants remained eligible regardless of immigration status.
The purpose of this letter is to remind housing and service providers that they must not turn away immigrants experiencing homelessness or victims of domestic violence or human trafficking, on the basis of their immigration status, from certain housing and services necessary for life or safety – such as street outreach, emergency shelter, and short-term housing assistance including transitional housing and rapid re-housing funded through the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Continuum of Care (CoC) Programs.
The letter from the Attorney General and the Secretaries of HHS and HUD, dated August 5, 2016, is not a new policy. It reiterates existing laws and policies and applies those policies to programs that were not in effect when the original Attorney General Order was signed in 2001.
If you have any questions, please submit them to the HUD Exchange Ask a Question (AAQ) Portal. If you have questions related to the CoC Program, please select “CoC Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process. If you have questions related to the ESG Program, please select “ESG Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.