Members of Congress continue to seek signers for “dear colleague” letters in support of HUD and USDA Rural Housing funding. New letters this past week are described below.
Project-Based Rental Assistance
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is circulating a letter in support of $10.5 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance account in FY15. This is $750 million more than the President’s budget request and $600 million more than the FY14 appropriation. “We are concerned that continuous under-funding of this program will leave many owners without the necessary resources needed to maintain properties and provide critical resident services, and will ultimately lead to a reduction in apartments affordable to low-income households,” wrote Senator Merkley. The deadline to sign is March 31. Members can contact Matt Traylor at Matthew_Traylor@merkley.senate.gov to sign.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
Representatives Jerrod Nadler (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Jim McDermott (D-WA) are circulating a letter in support of $350 million for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program in FY15. The Representatives’ request is $18 million more than the Administration’s request and $20 million more than the FY14 appropriation. The representatives say that $350 million, “would ensure that 67,200 households in need would receive the housing support that could save their lives. Recognizing the difficult budgeting decisions facing the committee, we urge you to, at a minimum, restore funding for this important, highly effective and bipartisan program at its FY10 funding level of $335 million.” The deadline to sign is March 31. Members can contact Melissa Connolly at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org or Todd Sloves at email@example.com to sign.
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) is circulating a letter calling for $335 million in HOPWA funding. This request is $3 million above the President’s budget request and $5 million more than the FY14 HOPWA appropriation. “Research shows a strong link between housing status and HIV prevention and treatment…Each new HIV case prevented through more stable housing saves countless life years and over $400,000 in lifetime medical costs,” wrote Senator Durbin. The deadline to sign is April 4. Members can contact Beth Cook at Beth_cook@durbin.senate.gov to sign.
Fair Housing Initiatives Program
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is circulating a letter in support of $45.6 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) program. This funding level is consistent with the President’s budget request and is $6 million higher than the FY14 appropriation. “Families across the country are struggling to find safe, affordable homes that meet their needs. In addition to the burdens facing every family, an estimated 4 million people are also victims of housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, family status, or disability,” wrote Senator Brown. The deadline to sign is April 2. Members can contact Megan Cheney at Megan_cheney@brown.senate.gov to sign.
Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and Rural Capacity Building
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are also circulating a letter in support of $20 million for SHOP and $6 million for Rural Capacity Building. The Senators wrote, “SHOP has been a uniquely effective tool for creating successful low-income homeownership nationwide, especially in rural America, where affordable housing support is very limited.” The deadline to sign is April 1. Members can contact Tedros Abraham at Tedros_Abraham@merkley.senate.gov or Lauren Brackett at Lauren_Brackett@leahy.senate.gov to sign.
Members are still circulating the following “dear colleague” letters (see Memo, 3/21):
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is calling for an additional $320 million for Section 8 vouchers above the President’s FY15 budget request of $20.45 billion in order to restore 40,000 vouchers lost due to sequestration. The deadline to sign is March 31. Members can contact Melissa Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)’s letter in the Senate supports FY15 Homeless Assistance Grants funding. The deadline to sign is April 1. Members can contact James Ahn at email@example.com to sign.
Community Development Block Grant Program
Senator Leahy also is circulating a letter in the Senate in support of “at least $3.3 billion” for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in FY15. CDBG was funded at $3.03 billion in FY14. The President requested just $2.8 billion for FY15. The deadline for senators to sign the letter is April 1 at noon. Members can contact Lauren Brackett at Lauren_Brackett@leahy.senate.gov to sign.
Section 4 Capacity Building
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has a letter in support of $35 million for the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Program in FY15. Section 4 provides direct funding for LISC, Habitat for Humanity, and Enterprise Community Partners. The deadline for Members of the Senate to sign is April 3. Members can contact Lane Bodian at Lane_Bodian@schumer.senate.gov.
Senator Schumer also is circulating a letter in the Senate in support of “maintaining adequate funding” for USDA’s rural homeownership and rental programs in FY15. The deadline for senators to sign the letter is April 2. Members can contact Lane Bodian at Lane_Bodian@schumer.senate.gov to sign.
Several Members of the House and Senate have already submitted their “dear colleague” sign-on letters. The deadlines for Members of Congress to submit programmatic funding and language requests to the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees are as follows:
- April 2 for House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee.
- April 4 for Senate THUD.
- March 31 for House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Agriculture) Subcommittee.
- April 4 for Senate Agriculture.
View the Senate PBRA letter: http://bit.ly/1iRRBYB
View the House HOPWA letter: http://bit.ly/1khZvtQ
View the Senate HOPWA letter: http://bit.ly/1mpsmh1
View the Senate FHIP letter: http://bit.ly/1rXG9j2
View the House SHOP and Rural Capacity letter: http://bit.ly/1jroU5C
View the Senate SHOP and Rural Capacity letter: http://bit.ly/1rXP83N
View the House Section 8 letter: http://bit.ly/1eENFcW
View the Senate Homeless Assistance letter: http://bit.ly/1rnfADu
View the Senate CDBG letter: http://bit.ly/1gc4f4Q
View the Senate Section 4: http://bit.ly/1oKztlH
View the Senate Rural Housing letter: http://bit.ly/1lcmE4H