2016 Omnibus Spending Bill Protects the National Housing Trust Fund

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is pleased with the treatment of low income housing programs in the proposed FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill that Congressional leaders released this morning.  While funding levels remain wholly inadequate to meet the housing needs of low income Americans, the bill is a significant improvement over the HUD appropriations bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year under the constraints of sequestration. Increased funding was made possible by the lifting of the sequester caps in the “Balanced Budget Act” passed in October.

Specifically, the bill does not raid the National Housing Trust Fund as was in the earlier House bill. This will allow HUD to implement the National Housing Trust Fund in 2016 with funds from a modest assessment on the annual volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The bill provides increases to the HOME program, homeless assistance grants, public housing capital and operating funds, housing for the elderly and those with disabilities, and rural rental assistance.  It remains to be seen if the appropriations for housing vouchers and project-based rental assistance will be adequate to maintain existing units.

NLIHC urges speedy passage of the bill.

Other positive provisions are:

  • The expanded Moving to Work program will finally have rigorous evaluation requirements.
  • The bill does not include earlier provisions that would impede the implementation of the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule.
  • The bill prohibits the disposition of the taxpayer-owned stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the Treasury for two years, providing more time for Congress to act on housing finance reform.

 “We applaud Congress for not raiding the National Housing Trust Fund and for making modest increases to other key affordable housing programs,” said Sheila Crowley, NLIHC’s President and CEO. “However, many more resources are needed to fight the monumental challenges of homelessness and the lack of decent, available and affordable housing for the lowest income people in America.”

There is currently a shortage of 7.1 million affordable rental units available to extremely low income renter households in America.  

Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.