President Barack Obama’s FY17 budget request seeks a long-overdue, significant investment in federal efforts to end homelessness for all families by 2020. For FY17, HUD is asking Congress to provide $88 million for 10,000 new housing choice vouchers for homeless families with children, funding for 25,000 new permanent supportive housing units, and funds to provide 8,000 families with rapid rehousing assistance. In addition, HUD announced a legislative proposal where it will seek $11 billion in mandatory spending over the next 10 years to serve a total of 550,000 families with additional vouchers, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing assistance.
For the ten-year $11 billion Homeless Assistance for Families program, which would be run through HUD’s Continuum of Care framework in partnership with local public housing agencies, HUD estimates approximately 20% of the funds will be used to support rapid rehousing, and 80% of the funds will support housing choice vouchers.
The request, which relays the President’s FY17 budget priorities to Congress, would also provide increases to ensure the renewal of assistance provided by the housing choice voucher, project-based rental assistance, Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, and Housing for Persons with Disabilities programs. Of these programs, the request would only expand the number of people assisted by the voucher program, with the $88 million for 10,000 new vouchers for homeless families for children, plus $7 million for a Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program to serve homeless or at risk of homeless Native American veterans living in and around designated tribal areas. There are no funds in the request to expand the number of new units in the Section 811 or Section 202 programs.
For public housing agencies, the request would increase funding for public housing operating subsidies from FY16’s $4.5 billion to $4.569 billion in FY17, would increase capital funds from FY16’s $1.9 billion to $1.865 billion in FY17, and significantly increases voucher administrative fees from FY16’s $1.650 billion to $2.077 billion in FY17. HUD intends to “fully fund” administrative fees under a new fee formula that HUD plans to implement for calendar year 2017. The budget also proposes a new $15 million housing choice voucher Mobility Counseling Demonstration program to help families with housing vouchers move and stay in areas of opportunity.
Again, the President seeks $50 million in funding for the Rental Assistance Demonstration, which currently allows PHAs to change the subsidy platform of their public housing to either project-based rental assistance or project-based vouchers but does not provide any additional public funds. The request also seeks to make Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) owners eligible to convert their subsidy stream under RAD. The request also seeks new RAD language to ensure residents’ right to continue their tenancy, by imposing the demonstration’s prohibition on rescreening or termination of residents during redevelopment efforts, on Rent Supplement, Rental Assistance Payment, and Mod Rehab properties that convert under RAD.
The President’s request seeks an increase for HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, from FY16’s $40 million to $46 million in FY17. The FHIP program provides funding to state and local governments and to public and private nonprofit organizations that administer programs to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices through enforcement, education, and outreach.
The request would level fund HOME at FY16’s funding of $950 million but also make the traditionally $10 million stand-along Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program a set-aside within the HOME program. The request would decrease funding for Community Development Block Grants, from FY16’s $3 billion to $2.8 billion in FY17. The request seeks level funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, $335 million. The President would also level fund HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control at $110 million. The request would increase resources to Native American Housing Block Grants from FY16’s $650 million to $700 million in FY17.
In the request, HUD predicts the National Housing Trust Fund will receive $136 million in 2017, compared to the $182 million the Administration predicts will be available through the NHTF in 2016. NLIHC expects to know the precise amount the NHTF will administer in the coming weeks.
The request includes several policy proposals. These include proposals related to compensation of PHA employees, allowing PHAs to establish replacement reserves, giving PHAs more flexibility to shift funds between their capital and operating accounts, changing CDBG grantee and accountability guidelines, updating the HOPWA distribution formula, and establishing a utilities conservation pilot to reduce PHA energy and water consumption.
NLIHC is working with dozens of other national organizations to ensure strong funding for the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Without strong subcommittee funding, the increases sought by the President will not be possible. View and sign onto the letter by February 19, http://nlihc.org/issues/budget/302b
View NLIHC’s budget chart, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/FY16HUD-USDA_Budget-Chart.pdf.
HUD budget request appendix, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/hud.pdf
USDA budget request appendix, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/agr.pdf