Final Deal to Fund the Federal Government for Remainder of FY19, Targets Homeless Youth, Protects HTF
On February 13, 2019, Congressional leaders released a bipartisan spending package. This spending package includes the Transportation-HUD spending bills that had previously been negotiated between the House and Senate.
The House and Senate voted to approve the package before sending it to the Senate and then to President Trump for his signature. Even though, President Trump stated he was “not happy” with the deal, he signed the bill into law on February 15.
Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $12 billion above the president’s request. The spending package builds on the 10% increase in HUD funding that advocates and congressional champions secured in FY18. The spending package provides $1.5 billion in new resources in FY19. In doing so, Congress clearly rejects the calls to drastically cut housing investments in the form of funding cuts, harmful rent increases, rigid work requirements, or de facto time limits as proposed by the White House. For more details, see National Low Income Housing Coalition’s updated budget chart.
Congress rejected the president’s proposal to eliminate the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the first new federal housing resource in decades exclusively targeted to serve people with the lowest incomes. Protecting the HTF in these bills represents a significant victory for housing advocates, including NLIHC. Advocates will continue to urge Congress to increase funding for the HTF through housing finance reform, an infrastructure spending package, and other legislative opportunities.
Compared to FY18, the negotiated package increases funding for tenant-based rental assistance, public housing, project-based rental assistance, and homeless assistance grants. The bill targets $80 million to address youth homelessness and provides $50 million for rapid rehousing assistance for survivors of domestic violence.
The bill also provides enough funding to renew all contracts for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities and the HOME Investment Partnerships program received a slight reduction.
This successful outcome is due to the hard work of advocates across the nation and strong congressional champions, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) – the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees.