With the House and Senate in recess after passing an FY11 full year appropriations bill, H.R. 1473, federal departments are now implementing the cuts passed by Congress (see Memo, 4/15). This full year Continuing Resolution (CR) cuts all non-defense discretionary programs across the board by .2% and cuts many HUD programs more deeply.
Several HUD programs are eliminated by this final CR, including the Brownfields Redevelopment program, several Community Development Fund (CDF) programs and the Housing Counseling program. Brownfields and the CDF programs were eliminated in previous short-term CRs and were again eliminated in Congress’ final CR (see Memo, 4/8, 3/18).
The elimination of funding for the Housing Counseling program in H.R. 1473 took advocates by surprise. The program has historically received bipartisan Congressional support and its importance in mitigating impacts of the foreclosure crisis for low income families is widely recognized.
The National Council of La Raza, the NAACP, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, and the National Urban League issued a joint press release criticizing Congress’ decision to defund the program. “It is senseless to target an effective program that helps families navigate the confusing foreclosure prevention process,” say the organizations. The letter notes that the cut to the Housing Counseling program is “a major setback that would increase the vulnerability of communities of color.”
HUD issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Housing Counseling program to clarify how the program cut will be implemented. Agencies receiving housing counseling funding are currently drawing down funds for services from FY10 awards. The CR does not affect FY10 funding and agencies can continue to draw those funds for the remainder of the fiscal year. The FAQ states that, beginning October 1, 2011, there will be no funding available for housing counseling or training activities. HUD hopes to provide the $88 million in FY12 Housing Counseling funds included in the President’s budget request. If FY12 funding is appropriated by Congress, there will be a gap in funding lasting between the start of the fiscal year and the time HUD is able to issue a NOFA and award FY12 grants.
View HUD’s FAQ at http://www.nlihc.org/doc/FY11-Housing-Grant-Cuts-FAQ.pdf