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Congress Targeting Housing Assistance for Especially Deep Cuts

Posted October 24, 2011

Operating within the 2011 Budget Control Act’s tight spending limits, Congress is making difficult decisions about which programs to cut in fiscal year 2012.  House and Senate leaders drafting the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget have committed to preserving rental assistance for the low-income families now receiving it so that these families don’t lose their homes.  Yet the House and Senate funding bills do not meet this important commitment, as I explain in a new report, and tens of thousands of families could lose assistance.

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PDF: Congress Targeting Housing Assistance for Especially Deep Cuts



New Housing Materials from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Posted June 27, 2011

Source: Memo from Barbara Sard at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/24/11

New (old) Section 8 legislation

A subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing yesterday on a new version of the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act.  The draft bill, named the Section 8 Savings Act, or SESA, has many important provisions but could be improved by adding some additional policies from prior versions of SEVRA while avoiding controversial changes that may derail the bill.  The subcommittee may hold additional hearings on the issue of Section 8 reform, and it isn’t clear yet when an actual bill will be filed and acted on by the committee.  Materials available from CBPP:

We held an audioconference on June 20 about the SESA draft and related advocacy issues.  If you’d like a copy of the recording of the audioconference, contact Shaunya Owens at

Deficit reduction and housing/community development programs

As you hear the news about the high-level deficit reduction negotiations now occurring in advance of the August 2 deadline to increase the debt limit, you may have been wondering what impact if any the outcome of these discussions will have on the affordable housing and community development programs you care about.  Our new paper, Unbalanced Approach to Deficit Reduction Could Cripple Housing and Community Development Programs, provides the answer: housing and community development programs could face crippling cuts over time if Congress and the Obama Administration agree to a deficit reduction plan that relies primarily or entirely on spending reductions rather than on a balanced mix that includes a significant revenue contribution.  The paper, by Douglas Rice and Barbara Sard, includes estimates of the program level impact in 2012 of the House budget and funding allocations.

In addition to including significant additional revenue, it is essential that any budget enforcement mechanism included in a deficit reduction agreement must trigger both spending cuts and additional revenues.  Any required savings in discretionary programs should be balanced between security and non-security spending and should have two separate spending caps; any shortfall in meeting the security targets should not result in additional cuts in non-security spending (which includes housing and community development funding).  If revenues are not included discretionary caps must be set for the shortest duration possible while keeping the weakness of the economy in mind.  (Deep, immediate spending cuts could further increase unemployment.)
HUD releases capital needs study

HUD today released an estimate that capital needs in public housing in 2010 totaled $25.6 billion.  The estimate is based on the first systematic study of public housing renovation needs since 1998.  As a blog post Will Fischer discussed, the finding underscores the need for Congress to avoid further cuts to public housing funding and take action on the Administration’s proposal to test conversion of some public housing developments to Section 8 subsidies.

Barbara Sard
Vice President for Housing Policy
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
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