The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined on June 27 that Administration’s proposed Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA) would increase direct spending by $60 million over the 2012 to 2021 period.
CPRA would change the way the federal government disposes of surplus properties by creating a commission modeled after the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Advocates are concerned that the CPRA proposal would undo rights granted to homeless service providers under Title V of the McKinney-Vento Act. Under the Act, these entities have the first opportunity to acquire surplus properties as they become available.
The new commission proposed in CPRA would evaluate surplus federal properties and then create two separate lists: one of properties that the commission recommends the federal government sell, and a second, separate list of properties recommended for use by entities to benefit persons experiencing homelessness (see Memo, 6/10, 5/20). The purpose of the legislation is to increase federal revenues, and the Administration has estimated that the proposal, if enacted, would result in $3 billion each year in property sales.
However, the CBO found in its estimate that the proposal would in fact cost the government money because, “although the legislation might induce some agencies to sell additional properties that may not be sold under current law, the proposal also would allow agencies to spend a portion of sale proceeds that will accrue to the federal government under current law and that otherwise could not be spent.” The CBO also estimates that the proposal will cost $420 million to implement.
Advocates, led by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP), are working to ensure that the obligation to make surplus federal property available to homeless service providers will be retained in any effort to change the federal surplus property disposal process. NLCHP will soon circulate coalition letters to the congressional Committees with jurisdiction over the proposal, citing opposition to any proposal that would weaken Title V.
A fact sheet on Title V from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty is available at: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Title_V_Fact_Sheet.pdf
A copy of the CBO estimate is available at: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/CBO_CPRA_Letter_6-27-11.pdf