Representative Waters Urges Increased Funding for Federal Housing Programs in FY17

On March 18, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Water (D-CA) sent four separate letters to House appropriators urging them to provide increased funding in FY17 for federal housing programs that serve America’s most vulnerable populations.

The first letter asks that appropriators provide the full $2.66 billion requested in President Barack Obama’s FY17 budget for the McKinney-Vento programs, as well as an additional $5 billion in emergency spending for the program to address the rise of homelessness in major metropolitan areas. Representative Waters writes, “In the richest country in the world, it is simply unconscionable that 564,708 of our neighbors across the country are living without a place to call home. Major metropolitan areas in particular are struggling to address recent increases in their homeless populations.”

In another letter, Ms. Waters and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), along with 69 of their colleagues, request that appropriators provide more money for HUD housing programs that serve low income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. This includes more than $10 billion for public housing, more than $30 billion for Section 8 rental assistance programs and almost $800 million for programs that serve the elderly and people with disabilities. The letter states, “Federal housing assistance is essential for providing safe, decent and affordable housing for our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and persons with disabilities. With an aging population, and many communities still struggling to recover from the housing crisis, our federal housing assistance programs should be a top priority in the fiscal year 17 appropriations bill.”

Additionally, Ms. Waters and Mr. Cleaver led a request, signed by 14 other lawmakers, to increase funding and make programmatic changes to rural housing programs under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the Rural Development Voucher Program, Section 515 Rental Housing Loans, Section 514 Farm Labor Housing Loans, and the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Demonstration program. The request states that these changes “will help protect vulnerable tenants by ensuring that vouchers and other resources are available, and by investing in the preservation of aging Section 515 and 514 properties.”

Finally, Ms. Waters was joined by almost 140 colleagues in requesting at least $3.3 billion in funding for the Community Development Block Grant program. The letter states, “CDBG makes its way into the local economy through an extensive network of local organizations and remains a lifeline for families and communities.”

Read the letters and Ms. Water’s press release at: