From our friends in the offices of federal legislators: Pollaidh Major, Office of Senator Leahy Sheila Reed, Office of Senator Sanders Thifeen Deen, Office of Congressman Welch
Dear Housing Advocates,
On Dec. 20, 2019, the two minibus bills providing funding for the federal government for FY20 were signed into law. Thanks to the hard work of you and your colleagues across the country, the 2020 appropriations bills preserve many of the vital housing resources targeted by the Administration for elimination and provided increases to critical programs. This past summer, the House passed funding bills out of committee that provided strong and needed increases to many housing programs. As Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Leahy fought to bring the Senate numbers closer to those in the House while still remaining within the budget caps agreed upon by both chambers over the summer. The fiscal year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill signed into law provides $74.27 billion in discretionary budget authority – $3.2 billion more than fiscal year 2019 – rejecting the President’s proposal to cut more than $15.8 billion from critical public safety, affordable housing, community development, and infrastructure programs. Highlights of selected housing related programs in the THUD, Agriculture and Human Services bills are below.
FY2020 Funding for Federal Housing Programs
Affordable Rental Housing: $45 billion to support households served through the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing, and Project-based Rental Assistance programs, and other rental housing programs. This represents a $2 billion increase from FY19 and a $6.7 billion increase from the President’s budget. The bill rejects the President’s proposed rent reforms and mandatory work requirements that would cause harm to vulnerable families.
Homeless Assistance Grant program: $2.777 billion to help communities support individuals experiencing homelessness. This represents a $141 increase over FY19 enacted levels.
Violence Against Women Act housing support: $50 million for supportive housing for domestic violence survivors.
NeighborWorks: $158.5 million to support NeighborWorks affiliates nationwide as they invest in communities and improve access to housing for low-income Americans. This represents a $6.5 million increase over FY19 enacted levels.
HOME: $1.350 billion for affordable housing development. This bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate this essential source of affordable housing development capital at a point in time when our nation struggles with affordable housing production. This represents a $100 million increase over FY19 enacted levels.
CDBG: $3.425 billion for community development. This bill rejects the Administration’s proposed elimination of this program and increases funding $125 million over FY19 levels. This bill also includes a $25 million set-aside within the CDBG program to fund housing for people recovering from opioid addiction.
Fair Market Rent Formula: The Senate report contains language directing HUD to evaluate barriers to smaller or rural communities seeking to dispute a fair market rent survey that they believe do not accurately reflect the local housing market. It also asks HUD to consider alternative data sources for the survey to make it more feasible for small communities.
LIHEAP: $3.74 billion to provide heating assistance to low-income households. This bill rejects the Administration’s proposed elimination of this program and provides a $50 million increase over FY19 funding levels.
Rural Development: The President’s budget proposed to eliminate close to 35 programs benefiting small, rural communities and rural residents. These programs include all of the direct housing loan programs and most of the housing grant programs, most community facilities programs, most of the Rural Business Service, many Water and Waste Disposal (W&W) grants, and selected telecommunications grant programs. The bill maintains funding for these vital programs.
o Section 515 Rental Housing Direct Loans: $40 million o Section 521 Rental Assistance: $1.375 billion o Multifamily Reservation and Revitalization (MPR): $60 million o 502 Direct Home Loans: $1 billion o 502 Guarantee Home Loans: $24 billion o 504 Home Repair Grant: $30 million o 504 Home Repair Loans: $28 million
Thank you once again for your advocacy and your work helping to ensure that Vermonters have access to safe, affordable, decent, housing. If you have questions on any specific programs, please reach out to us. We have included additional resources below. We know there is still work to do and unmet need. We look forward to working with you throughout this coming year.
Best Regards, Pollaidh Major, Office of Senator Leahy, Pollaidh_major@leahy.senate.gov Sheila Reed, Office of Senator Sanders, Sheila_reed@sanders.senate.gov Thifeen Deen, Office of Congressman Welch, Thiffeen_deen@mail.house.gov