U.S. Senate Approves Ample Funding for Affordable Housing and Community Development

NJ’s Menendez and Booker Support Federal Funding for Affordable Housing

On August 1, 2018, the Senate voted to approve the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Transportation-HUD (THUD) Spending Bill. The bill was approved by a vote of 92-6 and provides ample spending for both affordable housing and community development programs. Champions U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) worked tirelessly on the bill. New Jersey’s U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) voted to approve the spending bill.

Several amendments to the Senate bill that impact federally funded affordable housing programs, include:

  • Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced an amendment that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to report to Congress on the agency’s strategy and resources needed to preserve affordable rentals in the rural parts of America.
  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced an amendment to require HUD to ensure landlords do not unlawfully evict of deny housing to Americans based on their history with domestic violence or sexual assault.
  • Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced an amendment to require HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency to report on efforts related to the removal of lead-based paint in homes.
  • Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced an amendment to prohibit people who have been convicted of certain crimes from receiving housing assistance. However, the National Low Income Housing Coalition expressed concern with how this amendment will be implemented.

Most of the other proposed amendments, including the amendment from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) that would prohibit HUD from implementing its Affirmatively Furthering Housing Rule, were not adopted.

As background, on May 23, 2018, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY19 spending bill for affordable housing and community development programs.

  • The bill maintains the 10% increase in U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding that was secured in the FY18 budget.
  • This maintaining of funds directly rejects President Trump’s call to drastically cut housing investments.
  • His request in the FY19 spending bill called for $12 billion less in funding than the House Appropriations Bill had proposed.

The funding in this proposed bill reflects a bipartisan budget agreement from earlier this year. This agreement aimed to lift the low spending caps on defense and domestic concerns and promote affordable housing and community development.

The final spending bill will be negotiated later this year. But there is still time for advocates to contact their elected officials in Washington, D.C. in order to ensure that affordable housing receives the funding that it needs.

For more information on the bill and the process of the FY19 funding, view the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s analysis of the bill.

Budget Chart

NLIHC Budget Overview

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