The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) unveiled its draft spending proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2024 on July 11. The bill proposes funding HUD at $68.2 billion, which would result in a $6.4 billion (or roughly 10%) increase in funding for HUD programs over previously enacted levels. Due to increased costs for rent, which have raised the cost of housing assistance, and to lower receipts from the Federal Housing Administration (which typically help offset HUD’s budget), HUD needs an estimated $13 billion funding increase over existing levels just to maintain current assistance and services.
Despite the overall increase, the spending bill proposes deep cuts to or even elimination of some HUD programs, even while it also appears – as NLIHC and our members, partners, and allies have urged – to adequately fund most rental assistance programs. To appease House Republicans’ demand for deep cuts to all spending bills, the Transportation section of the THUD Subcommittee bill will likely see the deepest overall cuts to programs, with an almost 60% decrease proposed relative to last year’s funding. The bill would also rescind 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.
The bill would provide increased funding for some of NLIHC’s other priorities, including HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program, which is vital for communities to respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, and programs that help address the dire affordable housing needs of Native communities. However, other important programs would face funding cuts, including the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds, Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly. Funding for the HOME Investments Partnership Program would be cut by more than half, and funding for other programs – including the Family Unification Program, Incremental Vouchers, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, Housing Mobility Services, and Grants to Identify and Remove Barriers to Affordable Housing – would be zeroed out completely. For full details, see NLIHC’s analysis and updated budget chart.
In a meeting held the following day, members of the Subcommittee voted along party lines to advance the bill to the full Appropriations Committee. Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) provided opening remarks at the markup, noting that the draft bill “meets our fundamental responsibility to support our most vulnerable citizens who rely on housing assistance to live in dignity.”
“I am also proud of the work we have done in this bill to meet our trust and treaty obligations to Native Americans,” continued Chair Cole. “For years, HUD tribal housing programs have languished, with buying power eroded by inflation. At the same time, some of the housing on Tribal lands deteriorated to the point of being dangerous and uninhabitable. So I am proud we have restored the Indian Housing Block Grant program to $1.1 billion, catching up to an inflation-adjusted 1998 level.”
Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Quigley (D-IL) highlighted his concerns with the steep cuts proposed to U.S. Department of Transportation programs and his worries about the impact that cuts to HUD programs could have on affordable housing development. “More than 580,000 people are experiencing homelessness, and millions of families scrape to pay rent as incomes struggle to keep pace with rising housing costs,” said the Ranking Member. “But the allocation for this bill diminishes investments in the HOME program, which funds the construction of new affordable housing for renters and those seeking homeownership…For my district, this would mean a cut of more than 66% to Chicago’s affordable housing resources.”
House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) echoed Ranking Member Quigley’s concerns about inadequate funding for affordable housing programs. “The biggest issue touching every community is the lack of affordable housing,” she explained. “There is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable homes available nationwide,” citing a statistic from NLIHC’s Gap report. “Ensuring affordable and adequate housing is available in the places Americans live and work – ensuring there are roofs over the heads of children and families – should not be controversial. Yet this bill fails to meet the housing needs of a growing and aging population.”
Ranking Member DeLauro also took issue with the bill’s policy rider barring HUD funds from being used to implement or enforce HUD’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule, which charges localities receiving HUD funding with not only avoiding discriminatory policies but also proactively working to undo racial segregation.
“No honest lawmaker can look at the history of housing in this country and say there is no and has never been systemic racism,” she said. “The U.S. government was an active participant in creating the racial segregation we still see today, and this bill cannot be talked about without acknowledging that history. Black-majority neighborhoods were bulldozed to create urban freeways. Racial covenants, red-lining, and restrictive zoning were not just tolerated – they were frequently requirements of federal programs. We must be honest with one another and with the American people about this country’s history of housing discrimination, and why we have a Fair Housing Act to begin with.”
With the bill approved by the THUD Subcommittee, it will next be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, July 18. NLIHC will track the progress of the bill, including any potentially harmful amendments proposed that would increase barriers to accessing housing assistance.
Meanwhile, appropriations work in the U.S. Senate continues to progress, with both Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) having agreed to mark up their FY24 spending bills to the level agreed upon in the “Fiscal Responsibility Act.” According to the 302(b)s announced by the committee on June 22, the Senate THUD bill is slated to propose an increase of $759 million above FY23-enacted levels (see Memo, 6/26). The Senate THUD bill is scheduled for a full Senate Appropriations Committee vote on July 20, although as of publication, the bill text has yet to be released. NLIHC will monitor the release of the bill, as well as the full Committee vote.
While the fact that the House’s THUD proposal appears to spare rental assistance, homelessness assistance, and Native housing programs from cuts is welcome news, we must continue our work to ensure these programs, as well as Public Housing, are adequately funded in any final FY24 package. Failure to increase appropriations for HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs would have a devastating impact on the people and communities served by these programs.
Advocates should call, email, and Tweet their members of Congress and urge them to reject spending cuts and instead provide the highest possible allocation for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in FY24, including for NLIHC’s top priorities.
Take action today by:
- Emailing your members of Congress today and urging them to increase – not cut – resources for affordable housing and homelessness in FY24, and to support NLIHC’s top appropriations priorities:
- Implement full funding for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts.
- Provide full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
- Fully fund homelessness assistance grants.
- Provide $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- Fund a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance program.
- Maintain funding for competitive tribal housing grants for tribes with the greatest needs
- Checking out NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, “Oppose Dramatic Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing,” for talking points, sample social media messages, and more!
- Signing your organization on to CHCDF’s annual budget letter – join over 2,000 organizations from around the country on CHCDF’s annual 302(b) letter, calling on Congress to reject spending cuts and instead provide the highest possible allocation for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in FY24.
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