The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations released yesterday its fiscal year (FY) 2024 draft Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill. The bill proposes funding HUD at $68.2 billion, a $6.4 billion (or roughly 10%) increase to HUD programs over previously enacted levels. HUD needs an approximately $13 billion increase in funding over current levels just to maintain existing assistance.
The spending bill proposes deep cuts to or even elimination of some HUD programs but does – as NLIHC and our partners urged – adequately fund most rental assistance programs. To appease House Republicans’ demand for deep cuts in all spending bills, the Transportation section of the THUD Subcommittee bill appears to have borne the deepest overall cuts to programs.The bill also rescinds over $564 million in unobligated balances from the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes and $25 billion in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding provided in the “Inflation Reduction Act” to provide additional funding to HUD’s budget.
For a comparison to FY23-enacted levels and those funding levels proposed in President Biden’s budget request, see NLIHC’s updated budget chart.
The release follows months of threats from House Republicans to slash federal funding for domestic programs to FY22 levels, a reduction that HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge warned would make it “impossible [for HUD] to stave off mass evictions.” The THUD Subcommittee bill does propose to cut funding drastically and even zeroes out funding for some HUD programs.
However, thanks to the hard work and dedication of advocates around the country, the THUD Subcommittee bill spares some key programs that get or keep the lowest-income people housed. The Subcommittee bill proposes funding the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs at levels that may be sufficient to renew existing contracts and provides a slight increase for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program, which is vital to connecting people experiencing homelessness to the resources and supports they need to find and maintain safe and stable housing. Programs aiming to address the dire housing needs of Native communities would receive significant funding increases in FY24.
Other important programs would face funding cuts, including the Public Housing Capital Fund, Public Housing Operating Fund, Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly. The HOME Investments Partnership Program would be cut by more than half. Funding for several other programs – including the Family Unification Program, Incremental Vouchers, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and Housing Mobility Services – would be zeroed out completely.
As they have before, House Republicans included a provision in the THUD Subcommittee bill that would prohibit HUD from using funds to implement, administer, or enforce the proposed “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.
The House THUD Subcommittee will vote on the draft spending bill today (July 12), and the bill will go to a full Committee vote soon after. However, it is not yet clear whether the bill will have the votes needed to pass on the House floor.
The U.S. Senate is expected to release its draft spending bills in the coming week. Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice-Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) are drafting their bills to the level agreed upon in the “Fiscal Responsibility Act.” The Senate bills are expected to represent the “high water mark” for appropriations funding in the coming fiscal year. Due to the appropriations levels agreed to in the debt ceiling deal, even that high water mark bill is likely to include cuts to critical housing and community development programs.
Thanks to the hard work of advocates across the country in mobilizing to weigh in with their elected officials, HUD’s vital rental assistance, homelessness assistance, and tribal housing programs were spared from what were expected to be draconian cuts in the House’s proposed budget. But we have more work to do to ensure that these funding levels remain in a final bill and that other critical programs, such as Public Housing, are also fully funded.
Keep making your voice heard, and tell Congress that it cannot balance the federal budget at the expense of people with the lowest incomes! Advocates can take action TODAY in the following ways:
- Contact your senators and representatives to urge them to expand – not cut – investments in affordable, accessible homes through the FY24 spending bill, including NLIHC’s top priorities:
- Implementing full funding for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts.
- Providing full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
- Fully funding homelessness assistance grants.
- Providing $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- Funding a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance program.
- Maintaining funding for competitive tribal housing grants for tribes with the greatest needs.
- Use NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, “Oppose Dramatic Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing,” for talking points, sample social media messages, and more!
- Join over 2,000 organizations by signing on to a national letter from the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), calling on Congress to oppose budget cuts and instead to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24.
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)
The House bill proposes increasing funding for the TBRA program by $878 million above FY23-enacted levels, to a total of $31.1 billion. Funding for contract renewals increased by $973 million to $27.3 billion in FY24. Because the cost of rent increases from year to year, it is crucial that TBRA receive annual funding increases to maintain the number of people served by this vital program.
While the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program does not receive its own line item in the bill, the legislative text specifies that funding for contract renewals will also cover VASH voucher renewals. The Tribal VASH program, however, would see its funding reduced by $2.5 million. As of the time of publication, it is not clear how many Tribal VASH voucher holders would potentially be impacted.
The bill would provide $686 million for Section 811 mainstream vouchers – an increase of $79 million from FY23.
Project-Based Rental Assistance
The House spending proposal would provide $15.8 billion to renew Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) contracts, an increase of $913 million from FY23 funding levels. As with TBRA, increased funding for PBRA is crucial in maintaining the level of services provided to households in need. PBRA also helps finance the construction and operation of affordable housing units, so any funding decreases would likely impact the construction of new affordable housing.
The House spending bill calls for $3.7 billion for the Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program, an increase of $96 million from the FY23-enacted level. HAG provides crucial funding for communities to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness. With recent increases in the number of people experiencing homelessness, as well as worsening housing insecurity as the cost of rent continues to outpace wages, increased funding for the HAG program will be vital if communities are to respond effectively to the needs of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
The House bill would allocate $3.2 billion to public housing capital needs, a decrease from the $3.3 billion provided in FY23. This assistance includes formula funding and $40 million for emergency capital needs. Of that amount, the bill specifies that at least $20 million must be used for safety and security measures in public housing.
The bill would provide $5.1 billion for public housing operating costs, a slight decrease from FY23. Operating support includes both formula funding and an additional $25 million, to be allocated based on need.
HOME Investment Partnerships
The House proposes to fund the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) at $500 million, a decrease of $1 billion from FY23.
Community Development Block Grants
The House bill would provide $5.5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program – a decrease of $843 million from the previous fiscal year. Of that amount, the CDBG formula grant program would receive level funding from FY23, while approximately $2.2 billion would be earmarked for specific community development projects.
The bill proposes zeroing out the new Grants to Identify and Remove Barriers to Affordable Housing program, which was funded at $85 million in the FY23 budget.
The House bill calls for a $1 million decrease to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, which would result in total funding level of $85 million.
The bill proposes legislative language that would ban the use of FY23 funding to “implement, administer, or enforce” the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, or from using funds to direct grantees to undertake specific changes to existing zoning laws to carry out the interim final rule, “Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications.”
Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities
The House bill would include $913 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, a decrease of $162 million from FY23. The bill would provide $208 billion for the Section 811 program to support affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities, a $152 million decrease from FY23-enacted levels. It is not yet clear how many people who rely on Section 811 or Section 202 assistance would be impacted by the proposed cuts.
As with other rental assistance programs, it is crucial that Section 202 and Section 811 accounts receive increased funding every year simply to maintain the number of people being served by the programs. Any cut to funding could cause the older adults and people with disabilities who rely on these programs to lose their housing assistance, putting them at risk of housing instability, eviction, and in the worst cases, homelessness. Additionally, these programs also provide key financing for the construction and operation of deeply affordable, accessible housing for older adults and people with disabilities. Cuts to the programs’ funding would delay housing construction and further exacerbate the affordable housing shortage.
The House spending bill would provide significant investments towards addressing the housing crisis on tribal lands, proposing an increase to the Native American Housing Block Grant program of $323 million – a more than 40% increase from FY23. The competitive grant program authorized under the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) would receive $150 million, or level funding from the previous fiscal year. Competitive NAHASDA funding would still be targeted to tribes with the most severe housing needs, as suggested by NLIHC.
The House bill calls for $345 million to reduce lead-based paint and other health hazards, $65 million below FY23-enacted levels. Healthy housing programs that may lose funding provide financial assistance to very low- and extremely low-income communities to help mitigate and abate the impacts of residential health hazards, including mold, lead, and asbestos, among others.
Other HUD Programs
The bill proposes $57.5 million for housing counseling, level from FY23-enacted funding.
The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) would receive $10 million, or $3.5 million less than FY23-enacted levels.
The House proposes level funding for both the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program and Jobs-Plus program, at $125 million and $15 million, respectively.
Funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program would increase to $505 million, up from $499 million in FY23.
The bill would fund the Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE) competitive grant program at $20 million, resulting in a cut of $205 million from FY23 levels.
While the FY23 budget provided $20 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions, the House’s proposed budget would zero out funding for the program. If enacted, the bill would ignore a critical opportunity to expand legal assistance to thousands of low-income residents at risk of eviction and, in the worst cases, homelessness. NLIHC has advocated for at least $100 million for legal services to prevent evictions in the FY24 budget.
The House bill would also zero out funding for the Choice Neighborhoods grant program; the Family Unification Program (FUP); housing mobility services; incremental vouchers; and Grants to Identify and Remove Barriers to Affordable Housing.
The bill would provide $4.19 million to fund the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is responsible for coordinating the federal response to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
In addition to the appropriations and policy provisions above, the bill also contains legislative language that could have implications for HUD programs.
The bill proposes establishing a “HUD Non-Recurring Expenses Fund.” Housed at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the fund would capture unobligated balances of expired discretionary funds and make them available for HUD capital needs, including department infrastructure and upgrading technologies.
The bill would also rescind approximately $564 million in unobligated balances from the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.