President Biden speaks to a Philadelphia, PA crowd about his Fiscal Year 2024 budget plan.

HUD budget proposes small increases for affordable housing

President Biden speaks to a Philadelphia, PA crowd about his Fiscal Year 2024 budget plan.
President Biden speaks to a Philadelphia, PA crowd about his Fiscal Year 2024 budget plan.

President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget calls for small increases for most affordable housing programs in the regular government funding process. This includes a request for more Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Biden is also seeking long term major housing investments through “mandatory spending” proposals, although these have no hope of passing in the Republican-controlled House.

The president is seeking $73.3 billion for HUD in FY 2024. This is $1.1 billion more than FY 2023, or a 1.6% increase. Almost all HUD programs would get a slight increase.

Of special interest to low-income renters is Biden’s $32.7 billion request for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

This is enough to renew all current vouchers, plus add 50,000 new vouchers. In addition, the president proposes serving another 130,000 families with vouchers paid for from program reserves.

Biden’s FY 2024 Budget also requests major affordable housing investments by way of “mandatory spending” proposals. Mandatory spending means that these programs will be automatically funded each year without going through the regular appropriations process.

House Republicans will not support any new mandatory spending. If so, they will be rejecting $3 billion for eviction protection (including Emergency Rental Assistance), $9 billion in rental vouchers for youth aging out of foster care, and $13 billion to provide rental assistance to all extremely low-income veterans.

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HUD calls for landlords to remove “junk fees” from rental applications

HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge called for landlords and property managers to limit junk fees charged to rental housing applicants.

In an open letter to rental housing providers, including state and local governments, the Secretary called for an end to junk fees that place a huge burden on low-income renters looking for housing.

Secretary Fudge called on landlords to make application fees fair and transparent. Not only are application fees high in many places, additional “junk” administrative or screening fees can cripple the budgets of low-income apartment seekers.

The Secretary called for state and local governments to work with landlords to get rid of junk fees and make sure that the fees charged to tenants are fair and pay for actual services. 

Secretary Fudge called for:

  • Eliminating rental application fees altogether or limiting them to what is actually needed to pay for the service.
  • Allowing a single application fee to cover multiple applications through the same platform or for different properties owned or managed by the same company.
  • Eliminating excessive and undisclosed fees at all stages of the leasing process.
  • Clearly identifying the amounts that tenants will pay for move-in and monthly rent in ads for rental properties and lease documents. This should include all ongoing monthly charges and their purpose.

National Housing Trust Fund gets half the funds it received last year

The National Housing Trust Fund received only half as much funding from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2023 as the year before. The Housing Trust Fund provides millions of dollars nationwide to build housing affordable to renters with the lowest incomes.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored companies created  by Congress. They provide capital to housing markets and must give a portion of their profits to the Housing Trust Fund each year.

In 2022, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provided $740 million to the Housing Trust Fund. Because of a slowing housing market this year, they were only able to provide $354 million.

The lack of affordable housing units is the main reason for skyrocketing rents. Reduced funding for the Housing Trust Fund means that half as many new homes affordable to low-income renters will be supported this year. 

Senior homelessness is on the rise, PBS says

A recent report by PBS shows that more seniors are finding themselves without shelter because of a lack of affordable housing, social safety net gaps, and mass incarceration policies.

Although HUD’s annual national homelessness count does not tally seniors separately from other adults, PBS points to local research that shows more seniors in the unsheltered population. In San Francisco, researchers found that the share of seniors among unsheltered people rose from 11% in 1990 to 37% in 2003 and about 50% today.

The growing number of unsheltered seniors are largely younger baby boomers, especially people of color. These people have weathered the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Great Recession of 2008. 

Over the last three decades, Black men especially have been the target of aggressive policing and sentencing policies, making it harder to find jobs and apartments even as they age.

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