Friday, April 29, 2011

Denise Muha speaks to YLAH about federal housing assistance programs

The NHC Young Leaders in Affordable Housing (YLAH) recently hosted their second speaker series event featuring National Leased Housing Association Executive Director Denise Muha. During a brown-bag lunch at NHC's headquarters, Denise spoke to the group about the range of federally assisted housing programs. She gave an overview of the history and evolution of federal housing assistance, and assessed the outlook for today's programs in an increasingly challenging budgetary environment.

Denise observed that Section 8 programs, including both tenant-based and project-based assistance, are a major component of the Department of Housing & Urban Development's annual appropriations, and spoke about the implications of the current budget environment for the future of these programs. Her comments emphasized the importance of education on the differences between the various federal rental assistance programs and the roles they serve in providing decent, safe and affordable housing to Americans.


Responding to a question from the audience, Denise also covered the Obama Administration's Transforming Rental Assistance (TRA) initiative, which, according to its website, "[R]eflects HUD's commitment to developing a reliable, long-term solution to preserve affordable housing, support affordable housing reinvestment and neighborhood revitalization efforts, and to bring enhanced opportunity and choice to residents." The TRA proposal has been at the center of an ongoing debate among the many stakeholders in the affordable housing industry about how to stabilize, streamline and improve public assistance for affordable housing across the country.

The discussion provided an excellent foundation of knowledge for those who were less familiar with the variety and complexity of federal housing programs. We hope that it will be the first of many on this topic, and we look forward to building upon it with future speaker series events exploring these important programs in greater depth.

The next lecture will be a workshop on the budgetary process as it relates to housing programs; it will take place May 19 at Enterprise Community Partners in Washington, D.C.

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