Will Limited Funding Provide Advocacy Opportunity?
The President’s proposed HUD budget includes $22 million for new permanent supportive housing and Continuum of Care (CoC) planning. This is the lowest amount of funding for new projects.
How we can we let Congress know that New Jersey has the capacity to create new supportive housing if limited funding is made available and that our CoC’s are poised to plan for HEARTH implementation?
The specifics of the funding would be as follows:
Continuum of Care Program (CoC): $1.94 billion
Renewal of Existing projects: $1.91 billion
New Permanent Supportive Housing and CoC Planning: $22 million
Homeless Management Information System: $8 million
Quoting from HUD’s justification document:
The CoC Program is HUD’s largest and broadest targeted program to serve homeless men, women and children. It also provides the infrastructure for the implementation of a comprehensive planning approach, data collection and analysis, and performance measurement. CoCs have the dual role of planning and operating programs, and use data collected through Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) to inform planning decisions and track performance at both the project and systems levels. Eligible activities include: CoC planning activities, acquisition, rehabilitation and new construction for capital projects, leasing, rental assistance, housing operations, HMIS, supportive services, and administration.
At this point, exactly how this proposed funding would play out. In recent years (excluding FY 2012), HUD has made $100-$150 million available for new projects. Therefore, the proposed $22 million would be a substantial reduction in the new projects line item.
HUD has estimated that renewals will cost $1.91 billion – a pretty significant increase over last year. Historically, HUD has initially over-estimated the cost of renewals. Therefore, if Congress were to provide this funding level, there is a very good chance renewals would not actually cost this much, and more money would be available for CoC planning, specifically, HEARTH implementation, including systems planning, collaborative applicants, and administrative fees, and for new permanent supportive housing projects. HUD’s estimated range of the cost of renewals in FY 2013, falls anywhere from $1.805 billion to $1.923 billion and HUD has budgeted for $1.91 billion (an amount towards the higher end of the spectrum.)
National advocates are hopeful that we will get a clearer picture around this proposed funding of new permanent supportive housing projects and CoC planning in the coming months but feel it is unlikely that we will know exactly what HUD plans to do for a while. Money for these initiatives will depend largely on what the final funding level from Congress is and what HUD decides to prioritize as a result. In the past, HUD has been able to find unexpected money for these programs when, for example, the agency recaptures more funds than expected. If there is more money available, then they would presumably be able to put more into some of the systemic planning changes under HEARTH and into new projects.