QUINCY, MA — The U.S. Congress has approved legislation designed to accelerate a federal effort to end homelessness among veterans and ensure safe living conditions in group housing projects. The legislation, the “Heather French Homeless Veterans Assistance Act,” will require the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) Life Safety Code® to be met as a condition for securing grants for transitional housing assistance authorized by the legislation.

The Life Safety Code is the only code referenced in the bill, which provides minimum building design, construction, operation, and maintenance requirements necessary to protect occupants from danger caused by fire, including smoke, fumes, or panic.

According to NFPA, an annual average of 1,400 fires in rooming, boarding, and lodging homes result in an annual average of 13 civilian deaths, 103 injuries, and more than $15 million in direct property damage.

“Eliminating homelessness and ensuring a safe living environment are both important objectives,” said NFPA president George D. Miller. “By requiring compliance with the Life Safety Code, this legislation will help to ensure that the safety of veterans also remains a priority.”

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org (website).

Publication date: 12/17/2001