Most HUD Programs Funded at or Above FY 16 Funding Levels
Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress announced late in the evening on Sunday, April 30, 2017 that they reached a deal on a final FY17 spending package.
This deal will fund the federal government through September and avert a government shutdown.
The spending package is expected to be voted on in the House and Senate later this week before the current Continuing Resolution ends on May 5, 2017. The date is a full seven months after the start of the fiscal year last October.
At more than $1.07 trillion, the final budget agreement upholds the bipartisan deal made in late 2015 to lift the spending caps required by Budget Control Act for defense and non-defense programs.
The deal does not include any of the $18 billion in cuts requested by the Trump administration for non-defense programs, which include affordable housing and community development.
While an additional $15 billion for defense and $1.5 billion for border security were included in the final package, these resources are allocated through a separate account for war operations that does not count against the spending caps.
Many of the “poison pill” riders that threatened to prevent a spending deal and to shut down the federal government were omitted.
The deal provides:
no funding to begin construction of a wall with Mexico,
does not restrict funding for sanctuary cities,
preserves funding for Planned Parenthood and subsidies for the Affordable Care Act,
includes $2 billion in disaster relief for California, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina and
a permanent fix to provide healthcare to retired coal miners.
The FY17 spending bill funds most HUD programs at or above FY16 levels, but below the high-water marks provided in the draft versions.
This is true for HUD programs including:
Community Development Block Grants,
HOME Investment Partnerships programs,
Homeless Assistance Grants,
Project-Based Rental Assistance, and
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
For some HUD programs, the FY17 bill provides more funding than the levels proposed under the House and Senate draft bills. These include:
the Public Housing Capital Fund,
Choice Neighborhoods Grants,
Housing for Persons with AIDS, and
Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard Control.
The only HUD programs to see funding cuts compared to FY16 were:
the Public Housing Operating Fund ($4.4 billion in FY17 compared to $4.5 billion in FY16) and
Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($146 million in FY17 compared to $151 million in FY16).
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance – The spending package provides $20.292 billion for tenant-based rental assistance, $18.355 billion of which is to renew previous contracts. The bill allocates $47 million for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH.)
Homelessness – The bill increases funding for homeless assistance programs to $2.383 billion from $2.25 billion in FY16. The bill targets $43 million to address youth homelessness and waives the requirement that youth 24 years of age and under provide third-party documentation to receive housing and supportive services within the Continuums of Care. The bill extends the authorization for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which is set to expire this year, by one additional year.
Other Housing Programs:
The bill provides $502 million to the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program,
The bill would level-fund the HOME Investments Partnerships program (HOME) at $950 million and
The Community Development Block Grant program at $3 billion.
The bill also provides a four-year suspension of the 24-month funding commitment deadline under the HOME program. This language is identical to an amendment offered by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) that was accepted onto the Senate bill by voice vote.
Because of the additional requirements on project selection, underwriting standards, and developer capacity under the HOME program, many communities have struggled to meet the two-year commitment deadline, which led to funding being lost. This language removes this barrier while keeping in place other, more meaningful deadlines.
Fair Housing – The bill flat funds the HUD’s office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
The bill also prohibits HUD from directing local governments to change their zoning laws under the agency’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule or with the AFFH assessment tool.
This language essentially continues an amendment approved by the Senate in their version of the FY17 spending bill.
The amendment was offered originally by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) as a compromise with more conservative Senators who sought to prevent HUD from moving forward with its AFFH rule.
Instead, this amendment is far more circumscribed and seeks to protect local decision making.