by Sarah Jawaid, National Housing Conference
The National Housing Conference held its Annual Budget Forum today at the Capitol Visitor Center. The aim of the forum was to provide attendees with a better understanding of the very real challenges facing housing in FY2013. Panelists included: Jonathan Harwitz, Deputy Chief of Staff for Budget and Policy, HUD; Dennis Shea, Principal, Shea Public Strategies LLC, (Former Asst. Sec. for PD&R at HUD under George W. Bush); Douglas Rice, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Michael Bodaken, President, National Housing Trust.
At a time of austerity, panelists spoke of the challenges the HUD budget faced in FY13 and how to move forward. Rice said the “HUD budget is the lowest since 2006 in nominal terms and lowest since 2000 in real terms. This is a time of an affordability crisis.” The Center for Housing Policy released Housing Landscape 2012 today which shows just this—the cost burden for renters in particular continues to get worse. Harwitz shared that “the people we serve with these programs are exactly the people who would face the greatest cost burden if we didn’t.” Bodaken spoke forcefully about the dangers of short-funding project-based Section 8 contract and the potential negative reactions from lenders and investors. Shea focused his attention towards solutions which included: job creation, reducing regulatory burdens, and deepening the connections between transit and housing because “if the federal government is increasing value around stations, then [developers] can help with affordable housing."
You can find the materials from the Budget Forum at the event page on nhc.org. It has the slide presentations from presenters, NHC’s own budget analysis (which includes links to other resources from our members), and will soon have a letter on the Transportation-HUD 302(b) allocation distributed by the National Housing Trust. You can find the Center for Housing Policy’s new report, Housing Landscape 2012, at www.nhc.org/landscape.