Friday, May 9, 2014

House THUD bill jeopardizes core housing and community development programs

by Liza Getsinger, National Housing Conference

This week the House THUD appropriations subcommittee marked up an FY 2015 spending bill that provides $40.3 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is $769 million below FY 2014 enacted levels and nearly $2 billion below the administration’s request. At markup both Democrats and Republicans remarked on the tough allocation for FY 2015, which clearly took a hit as a result of CBO’s most recent FHA receipts estimate showing larger than expected declines in FHA’s receipt levels. The lower CBO level leaves a large hole HUD’s proposed budget that would need to be made up by additional appropriations in order to maintain level funding. Unfortunately, appropriators did not make up the full gap, leaving HUD’s FY 2015 spending levels dangerously low.

The bill, if enacted, undermines valuable housing and community development programs. Many programs were funded at previous year levels, which translates to a decrease in funding when adjusting for inflation. Both HOME and the public housing capital fund, which are essential to help build and rehabilitate our affordable housing stock, are funded at below sequestration levels. The bill also omits the expansion of the Rental Assistance Demonstration, which enables public housing agencies to leverage private investment to help renovate public housing. The THUD subcommittee referred the bill to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration the week of May 19, but not without strong objections by THUD subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.). Ranking Member of the full Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) urged her Senate colleagues to craft a bill with more reasonable funding levels for vital housing and community development programs. The Senate plans to start considering appropriations bills the week of May 22. Stay tuned to the Washington Wire and NHC’s Open House Blog for appropriations updates.

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