The Senate Committee on Appropriations released its FY14 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) spending bill, S. 1243, on July 1, detailing funding levels and policy provisions. The Committee approved the bill on June 27 by a vote of 22 to 8 (see Memo, 6/28).
The Senate bill would provide substantially higher funding for HUD programs than would the House bill, H.R. 2610, which was also voted out of Committee on June 27. However, the Senate bill would fund numerous HUD programs at less than the President’s FY14 budget request to Congress. The Senate bill supports standing HUD initiatives as well as new initiatives and policy proposals.
Under Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, in addition to contract renewals, S. 1243 would provide:
- $150 million for Tenant Protection Vouchers, double the FY13 funding level and House amount, and level with the President’s FY14 request.
- $111 million for Section 811 Mainstream Voucher renewals, level with the House bill and the President’s budget request.
- $78 million for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. This level is $3 million above the $75 million reported by the Senate THUD Subcommittee with a new set aside for a rental assistance and supportive housing demonstration program for Native American veterans. The demonstration would be modeled after VASH with “necessary and appropriate adjustments for Native American grant recipients and veterans.” The $75 million in VASH funding would provide 10,000 new vouchers in FY14.
- $1.69 billion for administrative fees for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, level with the President’s budget request, $300 million above the FY13 enacted and House funding levels.
The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program would be funded out of a separate account by the Senate at $75 million, level with the President’s request, but $15 million higher than the House bill and FY13 funding levels. The Senate Committee proposes an increase in funding in order to expand the offerings of FSS program to other rental assistance programs, consistent with the House bill, and both the House and Senate’s FY13 proposals.
The Project-Based Rental Assistance account would continue to receive contributions from the Housing Certificate Fund, consistent with H.R. 2610.
The Senate bill would set-aside Public Housing Capital Fund for two purposes: $20 million for emergency disaster funding consistent with the House and the President’s budget, and $50 million for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program. The Senate would allow $15 million in funding from ROSS to be for a “Jobs-Plus” pilot program, modeled after the Jobs-Plus demonstration. ROSS funds could also further be used to provide services to participants in the pilot. This proposal was included in the Senate Committee’s FY13 appropriations proposal. Neither the House nor the President would fund ROSS funds in FY14 nor in FY13. The President’s budget requests have instead included an alternate proposal for funding service provision.
The Senate bill would provide $13 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG), level with the President’s budget request and the FY13 enacted level. The House does not include funding for the NHHBG for a second consecutive year.
The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program would be funded at $332 million, consistent with the President’s budget request. The House bill would provide $303 million for the program.
The Community Development Fund (CDF) would be funded at $3.3 billion, a slight increase above FY13 post-sequestration funding levels. The Senate amount is double the amount that would be provided by the House. The Senate would set-aside $75 million of CDF funding for Integrated Planning and Investment Grants and $10 million for mold remediation and prevention for Native American Tribes.
The Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) would be funded at $14 million, level with FY13 pre-sequestration funding and $4 million above the House. The President has not requested funding for SHOP for the last two fiscal years.
The Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program would be funded at $400 million, higher than FY13 and the House bill and level with the President’s budget request. The Section 202 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program would be funded at $126 million, level with the President’s request and the House, but more than $30 million lower than the FY13 post-sequestration funding level.
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity would be funded at $70 million with $44 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program and $26 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program. This funding request is nearly level with the President’s request of $71 million and $24 million higher than the House. The Senate bill would provide $120 million in Lead Hazard and Health Homes funding, level with the President’s request and FY13 enacted funding and $70 million higher than the House.
Policy Development and Research would be funded at $48 million, above the FY13 enacted level, slightly below the President’s FY14 request of $50 million, and more than double the House level of $21 million.
The Senate bill includes numerous policy provisions, versions of which have been included in the President’s budget request or in earlier drafts of comprehensive affordable rental housing reform bills in the House and Senate. Some of these provisions would provide cost savings that S. 1243 would use to defray FY14 costs. S. 1243 would change the definition of extremely low income, change requirements for inspections of units, and further define restrictions in determining utility allowances.
The bill includes a provision requiring HUD to take certain steps when a multi-family project-based housing development receives a Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) score below a certain level. The bill also lays out specific limitations on salary compensation for employees of Public Housing Agencies.
The Senate bill would also make changes to the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Additionally, S. 1243 would change the reporting requirements of HUD’s fair market rents.
Several of these provisions were included in the House THUD Subcommittee bill, but stripped by a manager’s amendment during Committee mark up in the House. The Senate did not include a provision that was in the House Subcommittee bill and that the Administration has included in its last two budget requests that would increase the threshold for deducting medical expenses from 3% to 10% without maintaining the standard deduction for households that include elders or people with disabilities, raising rents on 700,000 elderly and disabled households living in federally assisted housing.
The Senate is expected to move its THUD bill to the floor for consideration later this year, but it is not clear if the House will attempt to pass its FY14 THUD bill on the floor.