The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) approved its FY17 spending bill on May 18 by a voice vote. Much like the Senate version of the bill, the House proposal is better than expected and should provide sufficient funding to ensure continued assistance to all households currently served by HUD. House appropriators were able to avoid major cuts and increased funding for a few programs.
The House THUD Subcommittee received an allocation of $58.2 billion to fund important housing and transportation programs, an increase of $889 million over the FY16 allocation. THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Mario Diaz-Balart stated, “We were able to make these vital investments in transportation systems and communities because of the very generous allocation to this subcommittee.” HUD will receive $38.7 billion, $384 million more than last year’s level but below the $39.2 billion provided in the Senate bill.
The funding levels for HUD programs proposed in the bill are similar to those included in the Senate bill, with some notable exceptions that reflect different priorities in the two chambers. Unlike in the Senate, the House THUD Subcommittee largely excluded from its bill policy proposals like the expansion of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and requirements to reduce lead paint hazards. The bill includes no negative policy or funding decisions related to the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), a departure from last year’s House THUD Subcommittee bill which proposed raiding the HTF to fill a funding gap.
Homeless assistance programs received a significant increase in funding compared to the Senate bill: $2.487 billion versus $2.3 billion. The House bill provides a $237 million increase over FY16 funding levels. The bill does not specifically target funds to address youth homelessness but does require HUD to collect performance measures of each Continuum of Care that will influence how future funds are distributed.
Tenant Based Rental Assistance
Despite providing less funding than the Senate ($18.312 billion compared to $18.355 billion), House appropriators maintain that this amount is sufficient to renew existing housing choice vouchers. The House also chose not to allocate any money towards new Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers, and provided just $7 million towards Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers specifically targeted to Native American veterans.
The bill does not include funding for the Obama Administration’s proposed housing choice voucher mobility demonstration designed to help families move to lower-poverty communities and gain access to areas of opportunity. The Senate provided $11 million for the demonstration.
Project Based Rental Housing
Like the Senate version of the bill, the House bill provides $10.901 billion to renew all project-based rental assistance contracts for calendar year 2017, an increase of $85 million from FY16.
The House decided to flat-fund both public housing accounts in FY17. The Senate proposed increasing funding for both. Under the House bill, the operating fund would receive $4.5 billion and capital account $1.9 billion.
The bill does not increase the number of public housing units that can convert under RAD.
Other Housing Programs
For a number of housing programs, the House bill provides the same level of funding proposed in the Senate bill. This includes $505 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, enough to renew all contracts, and $154 million for the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program, $3 million over the FY16 level. The House bill does not include language allowing Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) properties to convert under RAD.
Like the Senate bill, the House bill flat-funds the HOME Investments Partnerships program at $950 million, the Community Development Block Grant program at $3 billion, and the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program at $335 million. The House bill does not update the HOPWA formula.
While both House and Senate bills cut funding for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, the House provided $100 million for the program in FY17 compared to the Senate’s $80 million. The program received $125 million in FY16.
The House bill provides $130 million to the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants, a $20 million increase from FY16.
The full Appropriations Committee will debate the bill and amendments offered by committee members on May 24 at 10:30 am ET in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2359. Policy riders will loom large, possibly including ones related to trucking safety provisions and to preventing HUD from implementing its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule.
Read the House THUD bill at: http://1.usa.gov/1W5Y2wM
See NLIHC’s budget chart at: http://bit.ly/1SowzjU