Appropriations Leaders Continue Talks on FY24 Spending Bills – Keep Urging Congress to Pass Final FY24 THUD Bill!

Congressional appropriators are continuing negotiations over final fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill that funds HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs, amid growing pressure from constituents to take action on rising housing costs.

The FY24 THUD spending bill represents the first and best opportunity this year for Congress to take action on housing and provide sufficient funding for HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness programs. Congress has until March 1 – when the continuing resolution (CR) currently maintaining funding for HUD programs expires – to reach a final agreement on an FY24 spending bill, pass another CR, or face a partial government shutdown.

With topline funding for each of the 12 spending bills decided, leaders on both the U.S. Senate’s and House of Representatives’ Committees on Appropriations THUD Subcommittees – including Senate Subcommittee Chair Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), as well as House Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Mike Quigley (D-IL) – must now decide how to allocate funding among HUD and U.S. Department of Transportation programs.

The leaders must reconcile differences between the House and Senate draft spending bills, which propose 10% and 13% increases to HUD’s budget, respectively. However, neither bill provides sufficient funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) contracts upon turnover. Under the Senate bill, an estimated 80,000 vouchers would be lost, and under the House bill 112,000 vouchers would be lost. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has published a blog post with a state-by-state estimate of the vouchers lost under each proposal. 

Looking Ahead: The Need for Targeted Affordable Housing Investments in 2024

Increased pressure from advocates on Congress to take urgent, bold action to lower housing costs is paying off, but we must also ensure that any investments made are targeted to areas where they will have the biggest impact.

As NLIHC’s annual reports Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing and The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes have shown, people with the lowest incomes are hardest hit by housing unaffordability. Fewer than four affordable, available rental homes exist for every 10 extremely low-income families. As a result, an astounding 73% of renters with the lowest incomes – those earning 30% or less of area median income – spend over half their paycheck on rent and utilities every month, leaving very little for other expenses like groceries, medicine, or gas, and even less to save for emergencies or long-term goals. Severe rent burdens also put these households at increased risk of housing instability, eviction, and in the worst cases, homelessness.

Another consequence of the severe shortage of affordable, available homes is the pressure it places on the rental market, including its impact on households with higher incomes. On average, only 33 affordable, available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, so the remaining 67 households must reside in housing that is unaffordable as well. This process reduces the availability of units that could be affordable to people in higher income brackets, creating a chain effect that moves up the income scale and ultimately results in increased rent burden on even middle-income renters.

To address the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis comprehensively and effectively, Congress must make large-scale, sustained, and targeted investments in the construction, preservation, and operation of deeply affordable housing. Unlike middle-income housing, the market cannot on its own build housing deeply affordable enough for people with the lowest incomes. Federal assistance – in the form of investments in programs like the national Housing Trust Fund and Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) – is required to ensure units are affordable, available, and accessible to people with the lowest incomes.

Your Advocacy is Working – Keep Up the Fight!

Your advocacy makes a difference! It is thanks to the hard work of advocates that – at a time when programs faced cuts of up 25% – HUD received increased funding in both the House and Senate FY24 proposals. But the fight isn’t over!  

Congress needs to keep hearing from you about the importance of affordable housing and homelessness programs! NLIHC is calling on Congress to provide in this year’s budget:

  • Full funding to renew all existing contracts for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
  • Full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
  • The Senate’s proposed funding for Homeless Assistance Grants.
  • The protection of $20 million in funding for legal assistance to prevent evictions proposed by the Senate bill.
  • The House’s proposed funding for Native housing.

Advocates can continue to engage their members of Congress by:

  • Emailing or calling members’ offices to tell them about the importance of affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources to you, your family, your community, or your work. You can use NLIHC’s Take Action page to look up your member offices, or call/send an email directly!
  • Using social media to amplify messages about the country’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and the continued need for long-term solutions.
  • Sharing stories of those directly impacted by homelessness and housing instability. Storytelling adds emotional weight to your message and can help lawmakers see how their policy decisions impact actual people. Learn about how to tell compelling stories with this resource.

National, state, local, tribal, and territorial organizations can also join over 2,200 organizations on CHCDF’s national letter calling on Congress to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24.