President Joe Biden.

Biden’s FY22 budget increases housing opportunities for low-income renters

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Last month, President Biden released a broad outline of his Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Last week, the president followed up with more details. The updated FY 2022 budget has specific amounts proposed for each federal program. This includes federal housing programs at HUD and USDA. 

President Biden’s annual spending proposal includes modest increases for most affordable housing programs, and a large increase in rental assistance. The president is proposing $68 billion for HUD in FY 2022. This is $9 billion more than in FY 2021, a 15% increase.

The president’s budget also mentions affordable housing investments in his infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Act. If that passes Congress, it will bring another $313 billion in funding and tax incentives for affordable housing over the next 10 years.

You can jump to details on specific funding categories here:

Section 8 Rental Assistance

The largest increase among the president’s housing proposals is his request for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). President Biden is requesting $30.4 billion for the Section 8 HCV program. This is enough to renew all current vouchers, plus provide rental assistance to 200,000 more households.

The additional HCVs will be prioritized for the most vulnerable populations. This includes priority for people who are homeless or survivors of domestic violence. It also includes victims of human trafficking and those who have suffered sexual violence.

The FY 2022 budget also includes an increase for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA). Section 8 PBRA is proposed at $14 billion. This is enough to renew all current contracts.

The budget also proposes $531 million for a new Mobility Related Social Services program. This will support services to help low-income families use their HCVs to move to neighborhoods with better opportunities. This will give these families access to jobs, better schools, and services.

Public Housing

Public Housing has been underfunded for decades, affecting both routine maintenance and major repair needs. President Biden’s FY 2022 budget proposes increases in both the Public Housing Operating Fund and the Public Housing Capital Fund.

The president is proposing $4.9 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund. This is $23 million more than in FY 2021. The Operating Fund pays for Public Housing management and ongoing routine maintenance. When operating funds are short and simple repairs are left undone, they can become bigger problems that threaten the health and safety of residents. 

The FY 2022 budget proposes a large increase in the Public Housing Capital Fund. At $3.5 billion, it is $435 million more than the previous year. The Capital Fund pays for major repairs and improvements. These include things like replacing roofs, windows, and boilers. The Capital Fund also pays for fire safety and accessibility upgrades, as well as energy efficiency improvements.

Housing for Persons with Special Needs

President Biden’s FY 2022 budget proposes increases for programs that provide housing for people with special needs. The Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program would receive $928 million. Of this amount, $100 million will support the construction of 1,100 more affordable homes for seniors.

The Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program would receive $272 million in FY 2022. From this amount, $80 million supports new construction of 900 affordable apartments accessible to persons with disabilities.

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program would receive $450 million. This is $20 million more than the program received in FY 2021.

Block Grant Programs

Block grants are programs where states receive a fixed amount from the federal government to support local programs. Although the programs have federal regulations, state and local governments are given a lot of flexibility in how they use the funds to meet local community development needs.

The last administration tried unsuccessfully to eliminate two important block grant programs that helped low-income renters and the neighborhoods where they live and work. Congress rejected these efforts, and President Biden is proposing increases for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs.

The CDBG program provides state and local governments with funds for affordable housing, public infrastructure, and social services. It pays for water and sewer systems, sidewalks, electrical extensions, and street lighting. It also supports important community services like Meals on Wheels programs.

The Biden administration is proposing $3.8 billion for CDBG in FY 2022. This is $295 million more than in FY 2021, a large increase.

The HOME program provides block grants to state and local governments to support affordable housing activities. It can be used to build or rehabilitate affordable rental housing. It can also be used to provide rental assistance. The FY 2022 budget proposes $1.85 billion for HOME. This is $500 million more than the year before. It would be the highest funding level in more than a decade.

Tribal Housing

Tribes receive their own flexible funding to address local tribal housing needs. The FY 2022 budget proposes $1 billion in total for tribal housing and community development needs. Included in this amount is $723 million distributed by a formula among tribes nationwide. Also included is $100 million for competitive grants to tribes.

Homeless Grants

President Biden’s FY 2022 increases funding for shelter and services to help people experiencing homelessness. He proposes $3.5 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, an increase of $500 million over the prior year. 

Healthy Homes

The FY 2022 budget proposes $400 million for Healthy Homes. The initiative pays for reducing lead paint and other hazards. This is $40 million more than the program received in FY 2021.

Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination and segregation has entrenched poverty along racial and ethnic lines. President Biden is proposing to increase funding for the Office of Fair Housing to $85 million. This is $12.5 million more than the prior year, and will help fund enforcement of fair housing laws and regulations.

Other HUD Programs

President Biden is proposing $86 million for Housing Counseling. From this amount, $20 million would be set aside for an eviction prevention program. The program will provide legal services to between 10,000 and 40,000 renters facing the threat of eviction.

The FY 2022 budget also proposes funding for programs that help families in federally assisted housing improve their economic situations. The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program would receive $120 million for FY 2022, and the Jobs Plus program would receive $20 million.

Rural Housing Programs

The FY 2022 budget proposes level funding, with some modest increases, for rural rental housing programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FY 2022 budget proposes a $75 million increase in Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance to $1.45 billion. This will renew all current rental assistance contracts. The budget also calls for Section 542 Vouchers to receive $45 million.

USDA also has programs to build affordable housing for agricultural workers and continue to receive support from the Biden administration. The Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing loan and grant programs will receive a total of $38 million, the same as in Fy 2021.

The budget includes funding of $32 million for Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing. These funds support organizations that help low-income renters become homeowners. Clients must help build their own homes under the supervision of the sponsor organizations.

What’s Next?

The House appropriations committee will take up the proposal, and each department’s funding will be considered by subcommittees. Once the subcommittees agree on numbers, the funding bills are “marked up” with any final changes by the full committee and sent to the House floor for  a vote. The goal is to have all 12 funding bills approved by the House before the end of July. 

Although senators will be working on appropriations along with the House, they will not begin the real work of negotiating funding bills until after the House is done. Any differences with what the House has passed will have to be worked out in a conference committee. The goal will be to pass all of the appropriations bills before the end of the current federal fiscal year, which is September 30.