The U.S. Senate is slated to vote on its draft fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending bill for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) and several amendments as soon as this week. Despite austere spending caps agreed to by President Biden and congressional leaders earlier this year, the Senate THUD bill would provide significant new investments in affordable housing, increasing HUD funding by $8.26 billion – or 13% over FY23 levels.
However, this investment would not be sufficient to cover the full cost of renewing all existing Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs). A forthcoming analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows that funding for voucher renewals proposed in the Senate bill would result in an estimated 6,000 vouchers being lost to turnover, reducing the number of assisted households and leaving even more of the nation’s lowest-income households without the assistance they need to keep a roof over their heads.
Several amendments to the Senate’s FY24 THUD bill have also been proposed, including some that would slash funding for HUD programs, impose needless barriers to receiving assistance, or restrict HUD funds from being used for equity initiatives. Others, including an amendment from Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), would provide an additional $290 million in funding for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program, as well as $3.5 billion for new Emergency Housing Vouchers, HCV renewals, and administrative costs. HUD needs an estimated $13 billion over FY23 spending levels just to maintain current services, due largely to the sharp increase in the cost of rent over the last year, coupled with lower receipts from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which are used to offset HUD spending.
Lawmakers are once again racing against the clock to reach an agreement on a final FY24 spending bill, after passing a last-minute continuing resolution (CR) on September 30 extending current federal funding levels until November 17 (see Memo, 10/2). However, after an historic vote that removed former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his leadership position, House Republicans have been unable to agree on a new candidate for Speaker, and legislative work in the chamber has ground to a halt. The House will not be able to take up any legislation – including FY24 spending bills – until a new speaker is elected, or until members vote to grant Interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-NC) the power to bring legislation to the House floor.
While the Senate bill represents the “high watermark” for HUD funding in the coming fiscal year, advocates must keep working to ensure any final FY24 spending package provides the highest level of funding possible and includes sufficient funding to renew all existing housing vouchers.
Congress has only until November 17 – when the current continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded expires – to reach an agreement on FY24 spending bills, pass another CR, or risk a partial government shutdown.
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:
- Full funding to renew all existing contracts for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs.
- Full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
- The Senate’s proposed funding for Homeless Assistance Grants.
- Protecting $20 million in funding for legal assistance to prevent evictions in the Senate bill.
- The House’s proposed funding for Native housing.
- Contact your senators and representatives and tell them to vote for any amendments to increase funding to HUD’s affordable housing or homelessness programs, and against any harmful amendments to the FY24 spending bill that would slash funding to HUD, impose needless barriers to access, or restrict the use of funds for equity initiatives.
- Join over 2,100 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.