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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

An Update from the NCIL Housing Subcommittee

The Senate and the House both are currently in deliberations over appropriations for HUD and USDA Rural Housing, and advocacy is needed to ensure that housing programs receive the funding they need. Both groups have released their budget numbers for HUD appropriations, but Senate hasn’t for USDA Rural Housing.

This chart from Enterprise (PDF) lists the programs and the amounts. Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 is the final budget numbers for the current year and FY17 Proposed is what the President proposed. FY 2017 House and FY 2017 Senate are self-explanatory. It’s a given that the President won’t receive his requested amounts, so the issue here is what we will end up with between the House and the Senate numbers when they are reconciled.

Many programs saw more-or-less the same funding they received in 2016. Apparently Congress has little appetite for a budgetary fight on housing in an election year, although reportedly the House has proposed significant cuts to programs serving low-to-moderate income households such as food assistance

  • Section 811: No difference in requested amounts; $154 million in all three budgets, an increase of $3.4 million from FY16.
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: The Senate allocates enough funding to renew existing vouchers, but not as much as requested by the President, which would’ve provided new vouchers. The House appropriation for this program may not be sufficient to renew all of the vouchers despite the increase from 2016.
  • The President did not request funding (again) for Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers, stating that the existing money and other mainstream programs provide enough support. The House agreed, providing no funding for this, but the Senate allocated $50 million.
  • CDBG ($3 billion) and HOME ($950 million): both are at the same level as FY16.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, the House has proposed more funding for housing counseling ($55 million) than either the President or the Senate did ($47 million).
  • Both the House and the Senate keeps Fair Housing level at $65.3million, less than the $70 million requested by the President.

According to Enterprise, the House version does not include language to provide HUD with the authority to implement a voucher mobility demonstration. This is an important step in pushing voucher holders to use their vouchers in high opportunity areas with better jobs, better schools, etc. Studies have shown that voucher households who remain in high poverty neighborhoods have less opportunities to be successful.

Please watch for advocacy alerts on the topic of budget appropriations and amendments impacting the proposed budgets. There has already been a harmful amendment proposed that would impact efforts to strengthen Fair Housing activities.

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