Tipton bill to protect landowners near federal property wins first approval

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, right, is seen with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton on Thursday introduced a bill to enable the identification of COVID-19 “hot spots” through information sharing between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Since the initial outbreak of coronavirus became publicly known, protecting the most vulnerable has been and remains a national priority,” Tipton said. “My bill would allow HHS to use existing HUD data to better target potential coronavirus hot spots among the elderly and homeless populations.”

Under the proposal, HUD would provide information about the locations of affordable housing for senior citizens and homeless encampments. HHS would use those data to target its response to vulnerable populations. The bill would require HUD to remove all personal identifying information from the data before forwarding.

On its website, HUD does not list guidelines for public housing providers for preparing for infections among their residents. Instead the department warns that “there is no new or dedicated funding to create emergency plans for the COVID-19 virus.” The expenses incurred for planning for the virus to hit “should be considered an operating expense.”

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