HOME Critical Funding Source for the Creation of Affordable Housing in NJ
Thank you to Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ-4 ), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6 ), Albio Sires (D-NJ-8), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9), and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) who signed the letter increasing funding for the HOME program. Their leadership shows their commitment to funding affordable housing in New Jersey.
The letter supported a funding level of at least $1.2 billion in funding for the HOME Program in fiscal year (FY) 2019. The letter was circulated by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11) and was addressed to the leadership of the House Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations Committee.
“For over 20 years, HOME has proven to be one of the most effective, locally driven tools to help states and communities address their most pressing housing challenges,” wrote Representative Fudge. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HOME is the only federal block grant program exclusively focused on helping states and communities address their affordable housing needs for low-income households, including veterans, persons with disabilities, seniors and persons experiencing homelessness. HOME has also proven critical in gap financing for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Rental Assistance Demonstration, and it is often used by communities rebuilding from natural disasters.”
The HOME program is an important resource for development of low income housing. Funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program has been cut precipitously since FY10, when HOME received a $1.8 billion appropriation. In FY16, Congress appropriated only $950 million for the HOME program.
HOME is a flexible block grant that provides states and localities critical resources to help them respond to their affordable housing challenges, including both rental and home-ownership needs by targeting resources to low income families.
If the HOME program is used for rental housing, at least 90% of units assisted throughout the jurisdiction must be for households under 60% area median income (AMI), with the remainder for households up to 80% AMI. If there are more than five HOME-assisted units in a building, then 20% of the HOME-assisted units must be for households under 50% of AMI. All assisted homeowners must be below 80% of AMI.
On a related note, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, known as the omnibus bill was signed into law on March 23. The omnibus bill which funds HUD through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018 included:
- $1.26 billion for HOME, a funding level $412 million above 2017.
Now that the funding package for FY 2018 has been passed, advocates will continue to advocate or increase funding in FY 2019.