NLIHC: House Subcommittee's FY19 THUD Bill Maintains Increased Funding for Most Housing Programs

The House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding levels for affordable housing and community development programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released last night, May 15, a draft fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bill that provides significant funding to housing programs that serve low income people and communities. The subcommittee is expected to take up the bill today, May 16, with a full Committee vote in the coming weeks.

The House subcommittee bill maintains the 10% increase in HUD funding that advocates and Congressional champions secured in FY18 with modest additional increases for FY19, and it clearly rejects the president's call to drastically cut housing investments. Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $11 billion above the president's FY19 request. It also rejects the harmful rent increases, rigid work requirements, and de facto time limits proposed by the president in his FY19 budget request and in subsequent legislation. The funding levels reflected in the bill are a result of the bipartisan budget agreement made earlier this year to lift the low spending caps on defense and domestic priorities, including affordable housing and community development, which itself was the work of advocates across the nation and strong congressional champions, including House Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ranking Member David Price (D-NC).

Despite the increased funding available to HUD, the amounts provided in the House bill are likely not enough to renew all existing contracts provided through Housing Choice Vouchers ($20.1 billion) and Project-Based Rental Assistance ($11.35 billion). This shortfall could result in fewer families being served through these programs. NLIHC will work with the full House Appropriations Committee and with the THUD subcommittee in the Senate to further increase these funding levels.

Beyond rental assistance, the House subcommittee bill provides increased or level funding to most programs. Housing for Persons with AIDs ($393 million) and Homeless Assistance Grants ($3.55 billion) see modest increases. Public housing ($2.8 billion for capital repairs and $4.6 billion for operating), Choice Neighborhoods ($150 million), and Community Development Block Grants ($3.37 billion) are funded at the increased levels provided in FY18. Funding for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($632 million) and Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($154 million) would renew existing contracts. The HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) ($1.2 billion) would receive lower funding, although at levels above prior years.

The subcommittee also provides new resources ($50 million) for a mobility-voucher demonstration for families with young children to help them move to areas of opportunity, and it provides $100 million in competitive grants to Native American communities to spur construction and preservation of affordable rental housing.

The House bill is a strong response to the thousands of advocates who participated in the Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action earlier this month, calling for increased federal investments in affordable housing and community development. Advocates held more than 125 events and activities around the country, including rallies, press conferences, meetings with law makers, storytelling activities, letter-writing campaigns, bus tours, and more during the week. Despite this initial success, however, our continued advocacy is needed to ensure that housing benefits are not only fully funded but expanded to meet the growing needs in communities throughout the U.S.

More details on the House Subcommittee spending bill can be found in NLIHC's full analysis and in NLIHC's updated budget chart.

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