[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 88 (Tuesday, May 7, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26559-26560]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10862]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

24 CFR Part 579

[Docket No. 5573-N-02]
RIN 2506-AC33


Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: 
Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program and Revisions to the 
Definition of ``Chronically Homeless'' Extension of Public Comment Only 
for Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and 
Development, HUD.

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.

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SUMMARY: On March 27, 2013, HUD published a proposed rule seeking 
public comment on regulations that HUD would establish for the Rural 
Housing Stability Assistance Program. In the March 27, 2013, proposed 
rule, HUD also solicited comment on proposed revisions to the 
definition of ``chronically homeless.''
    This document announces that HUD is extending the public comment 
period only for the proposed regulations for the Rural Housing 
Stability Assistance Program to July 1, 2013. HUD is not extending the 
public comment deadline for HUD's proposed revisions to the definition 
of ``chronically homeless.'' HUD will commence reviewing public 
comments on the proposed definition of ``chronically homeless'' 
following the close of the comment period, May 28, 2013, provided in 
the March 27, 2013, publication.

DATES: Comment Due Date. July 1, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding 
this rule to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, 451 
7th Street SW., Room 10276, Department of Housing and Urban 
Development, Washington, DC 20410-0500. There are two methods for 
submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the above 
docket number and title.
    1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by 
mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department 
of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10276, 
Washington, DC 20410-0500.
    2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit 
comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit 
comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the 
commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely 
receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to 
the public. Comments submitted electronically through the 
www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and 
interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the 
instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

    Note:  To receive consideration as public comments, comments 
must be submitted through one of the two methods specified above. 
Again, all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of 
the rule.

    No Facsimile Comments. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not acceptable.
    Public Inspection of Public Comments. All properly submitted 
comments and communications submitted to HUD will be available for 
public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., eastern time, 
weekdays at the above address. Due to security measures at the HUD 
Headquarters building, an advance

[[Page 26560]]

appointment to review the public comments must be scheduled by calling 
the Regulations Division at 202-708-3055 (this is not a toll-free 
number). Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this 
number through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 
(this is a toll-free number). Copies of all comments submitted are 
available for inspection and downloading at www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Marie Oliva, Director, Office of 
Special Needs Assistance Programs, Office of Community Planning and 
Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20410-7000; telephone number 202-708-4300 
(this is not a toll-free number). Hearing- and speech-impaired persons 
may access this number through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service 
at 800-877-8339 (this is a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid 
Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act), enacted into law on May 
20, 2009, consolidates three of the separate homeless assistance 
programs administered by HUD under the McKinney-Vento Homeless 
Assistance Act into a single Continuum of Care program, revises the 
Emergency Shelter Grants program and renames this program the Emergency 
Solutions Grants program, and creates the Rural Housing Stability 
Assistance program to replace the Rural Homelessness Grant program. The 
HEARTH Act also directs HUD to promulgate regulations for these new 
programs and processes. On December 5, 2011, at 76 FR 75954, HUD 
published in the Federal Register an interim rule to implement the 
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program. On July 31, 2012, at 77 FR 
45422, HUD published in the Federal Register an interim rule to 
implement the Continuum of Care (CoC) program.
    On March 27, 2013, at 78 FR 18726, HUD published in the Federal 
Register a proposed rule that would establish the regulations for the 
Rural Housing Stability Assistance program. The purpose of the Rural 
Housing Stability Assistance program is to rehouse or improve the 
housing situations of individuals and families who are homeless or in 
the worst housing situations in the geographic area; stabilize the 
housing of individuals and families who are in imminent danger of 
losing housing; and improve the ability of the lowest-income residents 
of the community to afford stable housing. In the March 27, 2013, 
proposed rule, HUD also solicited public comment on proposed revisions 
to the definition of ``chronically homeless.''
    ``Chronically homeless'' was first defined in HUD's ESG interim 
rule. In the CoC interim rule, HUD noted concerns raised by commenters 
on the definition of ``chronically homeless,'' specifically with 
respect to HUD's definition on what constitutes an occasion of 
homelessness or homeless occasion. In the CoC interim rule, and based 
on public comment received on the ESG interim rule, HUD announced that 
it was not adopting the full definition of ``chronically homeless'' 
presented in the ESG rule; that it would not apply the definition of 
``homeless occasion'' incorporated in the definition of ``chronically 
homeless'' and would give further consideration to the meaning of this 
phrase.
    The March 27, 2013, proposed rule offered changes to the meaning of 
``homeless occasion.'' Given the considerable public comment and 
outreach already undertaken by HUD with respect to the definition of 
``homeless occasion,'' the extension of the public comment period 
provided in this notice is not extended to the definition of 
``chronically homeless.'' As stated earlier in this notice, HUD will 
commence reviewing public comments on the proposed definition of 
``chronically homeless'' following the close of the comment period, May 
28, 2013, as stated in the March 27, 2013 publication.
    Through this notice, HUD is extending the public comment period 
through July 1, 2013, only for the proposed regulations for the Rural 
Housing Stability Assistance program. Funds were never appropriated for 
the predecessor program for the Rural Housing Stability Assistance 
program, which was the Rural Homelessness Grant program, and 
consequently regulations were never promulgated. Accordingly, this is 
the first set of HUD regulations that would be put in place to address 
rural homelessness, and HUD understands the need to provide more time 
to comment on the proposed regulations.

    Dated: April 30, 2013.
Mark Johnston,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs Programs.
[FR Doc. 2013-10862 Filed 5-6-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P