House Passes Barr's Legislation to Fight Opioid Epidemic
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5735, the Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments (THRIVE) Act, introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06). This legislation would expand evidence-based models of transitional housing to help those in recovery maintain sobriety, gain valuable skills and job training, and obtain employment to eventually transition back into society to lead independent lives.
“A recent study found that one in five Americans personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids,” said Congressman Barr. “Congress has the unique and critical responsibility of providing solutions to our families, friends, and neighbors. My legislation would focus on long-term recovery by supporting successful evidence-based models of transitional housing, similar to many programs in the Sixth District. I’m proud that my legislation was included in a package of bills that will help Kentuckians lead more productive and meaningful lives free from addiction.”
Roger Fox, graduate of a Lexington transitional housing program said, “I am grateful for having the option of going to a transitional housing program, like Shepherds House, after making parole. When I first arrived, I didn’t know how to be responsible, pay bills, and most importantly, stay sober. But Shepherds House changed that for me. I learned how to be accountable and a father to my two kids. Congressman Barr’s legislation will give more people like me the chance to earn their freedom back. Today, I am proud to help those overcome the same struggle as the Program Director of an Intensive Outpatient Program at Shepherds House.”
Far too often, people completing an in-patient rehabilitation program or period of incarceration find themselves with limited long-term housing options and are forced into housing situations where they are surrounded by people using the same illegal substance they went to rehab to stop using.
The THRIVE Act creates a pilot program to allocate Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to transitional housing non-profits with evidence-based models of recovery and life-skills training. Rather than administering vouchers through public housing authorities, vouchers would be given directly to qualified non-profits in regions of the country with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths.
This legislation was inspired by successful recovery organizations in the Sixth District and informed by hearings in the House Financial Services Committee and discussions with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
The THRIVE Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 230 to 173 and will now be referred to the Senate for further consideration.