Omnibus Bill Passes with NJ Support and Provisions to Strengthen and Expand the Affordable Housing Credit
On March 22, 2018, the House and the Senate voted to approve a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act into law on March 23. The omnibus funds the government including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal agencies through the end of fiscal year 2018.
All New Jersey members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the omnibus spending bill except for:
Thank you to all of the leaders in Congress who voted for the omnibus and to the advocates who urged them to do so.
This is a good example of why the Congressional Reception is crucial. Join us in July 2018 and support a place to call home for everyone in NJ.
- The omnibus bill is a significant step forward for families and communities struggling to address the severe shortage of affordable housing.
- Advocates in Washington DC and across the country deserve great credit for their tireless advocacy in support of programs that advance affordable housing and end homelessness.
- We must continue our work to keep funding at a level that will provide everyone with a place to call home.
Working under a prior agreement to raise the Budget Control Act spending limits for defense and non-defense discretionary programs for 2018 and 2019, Congress has completed a bill that will provide substantial added resources for HUD’s core housing assistance programs. The omnibus funds non-defense programs at a higher level than any year since 2010 and would not have been possible without the community rallying behind the campaign.
Overall, the bill increases HUD program funding by $4.7 billion, or nearly 11 percent. Highlights include:
- Housing Choice Vouchers: $22 billion in total funding, $1.7 billion above the 2017 level. This includes $19.6 billion for renewals — which is likely sufficient to fully renew vouchers in use — and $1.76 billion for administrative fees, a 7% increase over 2017. About $20 million of the administrative fee amount appears to be set aside to assist agencies that are required to implement Small Area FMRs this year. The bill also provides funding for roughly 60,000 new housing vouchers, including 54,000 “mainstream” vouchers for non-elderly people with disabilities, 5,000 vouchers for homeless veterans (VASH), and 2,600 vouchers for at-risk families with children (Family Unification Program).
- Homeless Assistance: $2.5 billion for homeless assistance grants, $130 million above 2017. This includes $80 million for the homeless youth initiative, and $50 million for rapid rehousing and supportive services for victims of domestic violence. The bill also includes $375 million for HOPWA.
- $1.36 billion for HOME ($412 million above 2017) and $3.3 billion for CDBG formula grants.
The omnibus includes two key provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, taken from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661):
- A 12.5% increase in Housing Credit allocation, effective for four years (2018-2021), and
- A provision authorizing income averaging in Housing Credit properties, on a permanent basis upon enactment of this bill. Income averaging would allow Housing Credit units to serve households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI.) This is offset by deeper targeting in other units to maintain average affordability in the development at 60 percent AMI.