Voucher Funding Still Needed
Does Not Raid NHTF
On June 25, 2015, the Senate Committee on Appropriations passed a Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) FY16 spending bill that
- Funds voucher renewals by $496 million over 2015 which is still $352 million less for voucher renewals than the President requested in his budget and $169 million less than the House included in their bill,
- Does not raid the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), as would the House counterpart, H.R. 2577 but
- Cuts HOME Investment Partnerships program by 93%.
The Senate spending bill provides in voucher funding:
- $75 million for about 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers (which were not included in the House bill or the President’s budget request) and
- $20 million for about 2,500 new Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers (as requested by the President to help restore the vouchers lost to sequestration).
The House bill would use all NHTF funds in 2016 to fund a $133 million cut it would make to the HOME Investment Partnerships program. The Senate bill cuts HOME by 93% in order to have enough funds to maintain the rest of HUD’s programs.
The Senate cuts to HOME and the House raid of the NHTF are the direct result of the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequester spending caps, which do not allow for sufficient resources for domestic discretionary programs for FY16.
According to HUD, if HOME is zeroed out for FY16 and not funded at President Barack Obama’s requested level of $1.06 billion, there would be a loss of an estimated 38,665 affordable housing units (16,045 homebuyer units, 15,099 new or rehabilitated rental units, and 7,521 rehabilitated owner-occupied homes), and 8,813 fewer families would be assisted with HOME tenant-based rental assistance.
It is highly unlikely that the full Senate will consider the bill as passed. Senate Democrats are successfully implementing their plan to block considering all appropriations bills on the Senate floor. Further, President Barack Obama has stated he will veto any spending bill that is written under the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps.