FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2001
AUSTIN, TX--Yesterday the Health and Human Services Committee passed a sunset bill sponsored by state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, that makes the Interagency Council for the Homeless an advisory committee to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The House author is state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine.
House Bill 3450 also charges TDHCA with addressing homelessness and coordinating interagency efforts at the state level. These provisions provide the council with a single point of accountability, and a forum to recommend policy changes and projects. Further, the legislation gives council members decision-making authority and requires them to commit resources for homeless programs.
"I sponsored this valuable piece of legislation because I sat on the Sunset Committee during the interim, at which time we carefully evaluated TDHCA and made the necessary recommendations to improve programs such as the Council. As an advisory arm to the agency, the Council for the Homeless will be more effective in addressing such a serious problem in our state."
The council was created in 1989 to coordinate the state's resources and services for the homeless, and is composed of representatives from state agencies that serve the homeless.
A provision was added in committee that provides for coordination between the council and the Texas Workforce Commission, local workforce development boards and other entities to further enhance services.
The bill must now be approved by the full Senate.
Note: Staff member handling legislation is Ms. Bridget Sharphorn, legislative aide.