The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) held a remote hearing on June 10 to discuss the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) HUD budget. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge answered questions regarding the president’s budget request and the American Jobs Plan Act.
In her opening statement, Secretary Fudge stated that the budget request “tells the American people this administration views housing as a foundational platform to help address the most urgent challenges for our nation—to provide security and stability for those who live on the outskirts of hope; to advance opportunity and equity on behalf of marginalized communities, and to meet the existential threats posed by natural disasters and climate change.”
Several subcommittee members raised concerns about HUD’s staffing capacity and skill gap. According to the president’s budget request, HUD’s full-time staff declined 20% between 2012 and 2019. Although waivers have expedited the hiring process and resources towards staffing have increased, attrition has resulted in the loss of expert staff and imbalances in some program offices. The decline of staff and expertise has caused staff to be overworked and resulted in a skills gap in administering contracts. Staffing shortages also relate to the subcommittee’s cybersecurity concerns, as HUD has been targeted in recent hacking attempts. Secretary Fudge informed the subcommittee that staffing is a high priority for the agency and that funds allocated in the budget request will support increases in hiring and IT.
Chairman Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) shared concerns about veteran homelessness. Regarding the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, Chairman Schatz discussed how 24,000 vouchers have remained unreleased. Secretary Fudge responded that the supply of housing remains low for veterans and low-income families, exacerbated by capacity issues at Veteran Affairs and HUD due to declines in staff across agencies. Secretary Fudge assured the senators that HUD is examining best practices moving forward.
When Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) raised concerns about discrepancies between the McKinney-Vento and HUD youth homelessness data, Secretary Fudge explained that HUD will combine the datasets to address youth homelessness going forward.
Secretary Fudge expressed a commitment to work with subcommittee members to address their concerns, including addressing rural, senior, and tribal housing, supply of affordable housing, addressing discriminatory housing practices, FHA, and CDBG-DR issues.
Watch the full hearing at: https://bit.ly/3iw3HNS
Read NLIHC’s analysis of the president’s budget request at: https://bit.ly/3wg1wC9
View NLIHC’s updated budget chart at: https://tinyurl.com/cdkvy5b7