House Passes Robust Spending Package for Affordable Housing

The House approved by a vote of 227-194 on June 25 a five-bill FY20 spending package that includes robust funding for affordable housing and community development investments at HUD and USDA, as well as several positive amendments. This outcome is due in no small measure to the work of advocates across the country and the leadership of strong congressional champions, including Transportation-HUD (THUD) Appropriations Chair David Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Before the spending bill can be enacted, Congress and the White House must reach a bipartisan agreement to lift the low spending caps on defense and domestic funding required by law under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Unless the caps are lifted, affordable housing programs may face devastating, across-the-board cuts of almost 10%. If an agreement is reached, additional housing funds may be possible. 

The House spending package provides a robust increase in funding to housing programs that serve low-income people and communities. The bill provides enough funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts and increases funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, Native American Housing Block Grants, Homeless Assistance Grants, and other critical programs.  Several amendments were approved that would provide additional funding for Section 202 ($1 million), tenant-based rental assistance ($2 million), the Manufactured Housing Program ($500,000), HUD-VASH ($2 million), the Indian Community Development Block Grant program ($5 million), and the Family Self Sufficiency program ($5 million). The House approved two amendments to increased funding for Homeless Assistance Grants: an additional $5 million to better serve youth experiencing homelessness and another $1 million for a study on transitional housing grants. Other amendments were approved that would provide funding to study alternative methods for calculating Fair Market Rents in markets with rapidly rising rents and for HUD’s inspector general to investigate the Administration’s ongoing 16-month delay in releasing Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery mitigation dollars. Legislative provisions aimed at halting several harmful proposals from the Trump administration remain in the bill, despite attempts to remove the provisions through the amendment process. If enacted, the House bill would prevent HUD from implementing a cruel proposal to evict 25,000 mixed-status immigrant families from HUD-assisted homes – including 55,000 children who are U.S. residents or have legal status. The bill also prevents HUD from amending the Equal Access rule to allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people experiencing homelessness equal access to services – a move that would put lives at risk.

Read NLIHC’s analysis of the THUD and Agriculture bills here.

Review NLIHC’s budget chart here.