In contrast to the severe cuts proposed by the Trump administration, affordable housing programs would get a tremendous boost of funding in Fiscal Year 2020 under the spending bill just released by the House Appropriations Committee.
The subcommittee that sets funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposes $13.4 billion more for HUD in FY 2020 than requested by President Trump. It also is an increase of $5.9 billion over the amount enacted for HUD in FY 2019.
More about the Trump Administration’s FY 2020 proposal’s drastic affordable housing cuts can be read here.
The draft spending bill also explicitly rejects many harmful program proposals made by the Administration. These include rejecting rent increases, work requirements and de facto time limits for receiving housing assistance. In addition, it rejects recent proposals to evict thousands of assisted households with mixed-immigration status and efforts to roll back LGBT protections.
An easy to read comparison between the Trump administration’s proposed FY 2020 HUD funding, the House proposal, and what was enacted for FY 2019 can be viewed here.
The Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program would receive $23.81 billion, which includes $21.4 billion to renew all existing contracts. This is more than $1.5 billion above what the Trump administration requested for FY 2020.
The House subcommittee also proposed increased funding for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA). PBRA would receive $12.59 billion to renew contracts. This is $569 million over the president’s FY 2020 request, and $843 million more than FY 2019 spending levels.
The Trump administration proposed eliminating the Public Housing Capital Fund for FY 2020. The Capital Fund pays for major repairs and improvements to HUD’s aging Public Housing stock. The House proposes $2.855 billion for the Capital Fund, an increase of $80 million over FY 2019 levels. The House also increased the Public Housing Operating Fund to $4.753 billion, $100 million more than in FY 2019 and almost $1.9 billion more than the Trump administration sought.
The House subcommittee also showed support for two block grant programs that the administration has tried to eliminate in each of its budget proposals. The House would increase funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to $3.6 billion. Also, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) would receive $1.75 billion, $50 million more than in FY 2019.
CDBG is a block grant administered by states and local governments. It funds affordable housing, infrastructure, public works and social service programs like Meals on Wheels for the elderly. The HOME program supports affordable rental housing development, affordable homeownership programs and rental assistance, among other activities.
Programs serving populations with special needs also see increases in the draft House spending bill. It increases funding to $803 million for the Section 202 Supportive H-ousing f[or the Elderly program. This is $125 million than in FY 2019 and over $150 million more than requested by the president for FY 2020. The House proposes $259 million for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. This is more than $100 million over the administration request. The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program would also see increased funding for FY 2020 at $410 million.
The House spending bill also includes language to block a number of Trump administration proposals that would harm low-income renters. The administration has supported legislation that would increase rents for those in HUD-assisted housing, impose onerous work requirements and establish de facto time limits for receiving housing assistance. The House bill would bar implementing these measures.
The administration has also recently proposed regulatory changes that would evict thousands of mixed-immigrant status families from HUD-assisted housing. It has also proposed rolling back Obama administration fair housing protections for LGBT residents. The House spending bill includes legislative language rejecting these harsh proposals.
The House bill was drafted with spending levels above the low caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act. House appropriators are counting on a new budget deal to avoid a devastating 10% across the board cut to all housing programs. A couple of years ago, congressional Republicans and Democrats reached a budget agreement that raised the caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019.
This year’s House bill was drafted with the support of both the Democratic chair and Republican ranking member of the subcommittee. If a new budget deal can be reached, the prospects rise for more affordable housing resources to help America’s low-income renters.
Edited by Nathan Brunet