Friday news roundup 2/27/15

The HUDdle: Good news from the VASH program

Next City: What’s ahead for Pruitt-Igoe

NHC: Appropriations subcommittee hearing on HUD budget highlights challenge of austerity

NLIHC: Another MTW report released

Shelterforce: Opposition to housing for military veterans can be hard to fathom

Obama administration releases proposed budget for FFY 2016

Yesterday the Obama administration released its proposed budget for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2016. As part of the budget rollout, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a summary of its portion of the 2016 budget and discussed the budget in a town hall meeting broadcast yesterday.

In a news release, HUD Secretary Julián Castro praised the HUD portion of the budget for its focus on securing quality housing for Americans, ending homelessness, making communities more resilient, protecting people from housing discrimination, and providing critical rental assistance:

HUD is the Department of Opportunity, and the president’s budget proposal is a blueprint for greater opportunity for all Americans. By increasing our department’s funding level by nearly $4 billion over current levels, the president’s budget helps us continue our progress toward achieving our mission to promote homeownership, support community development, and expand access to affordable housing for all.

What does the Obama administration propose for the housing choice voucher (HCV) and public housing programs in 2016? The proposed budget for HUD requests a total of $21.1 billion for the HCV program, or 5.4 percent more than it requested for 2015. The total breaks down this way:

  • $18.3 billion for voucher renewals, or almost 2 percent more than was requested for 2015
  • $150 million for tenant protection activities, the same amount requested for 2015
  • $2 billion for administrative fees, or 18 percent more
  • $108 million for renewal of vouchers for persons with disabilities under Section 811 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, or not quite 1 percent less
  • $75 million for the supportive housing program for homeless veterans, the same amount provided the past several years
  • $178 million for new vouchers for families, veterans, and tribal families who are experiencing homelessness, as well as victims of domestic and dating violence
  • $38 million for new vouchers for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking who require an emergency transfer
  • $20 million for new Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers

The budget document explains that the new funding “restores the approximately 67,000 vouchers that were lost as a result of sequestration cuts in 2013.” It also proposes expanding the Moving to Work (MTW) program, allowing fixed-income families to recertify their incomes every three years, and increasing the threshold used to determine deductions for unreimbursed medical expenses from 3 to 10 percent of family income.

As for the public housing program, the HUD portion of the proposed 2016 budget includes these requests:

  • $1.97 billion for the capital fund, or about 2 percent more than requested for 2015
  • $4.6 billion for the operating fund, the same amount requested for 2015
  • $250 million for Choice Neighborhoods, or 108 percent more

The proposed budget also requests $50 million, a 400 percent increase, for “a targeted expansion of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to public housing properties that cannot feasibly convert at existing funding levels and are located in high-poverty neighborhoods, including designated Promise Zones, where the administration is supporting comprehensive revitalization efforts.”

For the consolidated family self-sufficiency (FSS) program, the proposed budget includes $85 million for family self-sufficiency coordinators, 13 percent more than requested for 2015.

You will find the president’s message to Congress here, a slide presentation of the proposed HUD budget here, a brief summary of it here, a press release about it here, links to the congressional justifications for the various parts of it here, and the appropriations language submitted to Congress here.

To stay updated on the latest program information, subscribe to the PIH Alert and receive a daily email with news and analysis for PHAs and housing professionals.

Senate passes omnibus appropriations act

Late Saturday the U.S. Senate voted to close debate on the 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) and then passed the bill by a voice vote. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on December 11. President Obama is expected to sign the bill early this week.

In brief, the bill provides the following amounts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

  • Public housing operating fund: $4.4 billion, $40 million over the 2014 amount
  • Public housing capital fund: $1.9 billion, no change from the 2014 amount
  • Section 8 tenant-based vouchers: $19.3 billion, $127 million over the 2014 amount (This total includes funding for voucher renewals, tenant protection vouchers, administrative fees, and new vouchers for homeless veterans, nonelderly disabled families, and the family unification program.)

For more details, you can read summaries of the bill here and here.

To receive updates and analysis on the latest PIH news, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking news and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals. Save 10% on your subscription when you order before January 1 during the NMA year-end sale!

Friday news roundup 12/12/14

Architects designed a five-story structure and an overhaul of a 1926 YMCA building in Los Angeles to provide 49 affordable housing units for youths leaving foster care. (Courtesy of Eric Staudenmaier)

Architects designed a five-story structure and an overhaul of a 1926 YMCA building in Los Angeles to provide 49 affordable housing units for youths leaving foster care. (Courtesy of Eric Staudenmaier)

Last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed an omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) that will provide funding for HUD and several other departments of the federal government through September 30, 2015. The Senate began consideration of the bill today and is expected to approve it by tomorrow, when the current continuing resolution expires.

Late yesterday HUD posted a contingency plan to provide guidance for PHAs in the event of a lapse in appropriations. You can download it as a Word document or a PDF, but it’s not likely that the plan will be needed now.

Jacobin: An inadequate estimate of the scope of homelessness

NHC: Progress in ending veterans homelessness

NLHA: Scholarship program for residents of federally assisted rental housing or HCV recipients

NLIHC: Report shows child homelessness at an all-time high

Rooflines: Vouchers are helping children avoid concentrated poverty

Rooflines: Moving from debate to productive dialogue

Washington Post: Affordable housing design doesn’t have to be boring

Congress to act soon on omnibus appropriations bill for 2015

Yesterday Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, introduced an omnibus bill (H.R. 83) to wrap up all of the unfinished appropriations business for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. You can read the text of the HUD portion of the bill here (see PDF pages 38 to 55) and the HUD portion of the explanatory statement here. In brief, the bill provides the following amounts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

  • Public housing operating fund: $4.4 billion, $40 million over the 2014 amount
  • Public housing capital fund: $1.9 billion, no change from the 2014 amount
  • Section 8 tenant-based vouchers: $19.3 billion, $127 million over the 2014 amount (This total includes funding for voucher renewals, tenant protection vouchers, administrative fees, and new vouchers for homeless veterans, nonelderly disabled families, and the family unification program.)

If approved by both chambers of Congress, the bill will raise the cap on the number of public housing conversions allowed under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) from 60,000 to 185,000, relax the flat rent requirements that were mandated under the 2014 appropriations act, and increase the cap on fungibility between public housing capital and operating funds. The bill also includes the following language regarding physical needs assessments:

The agreement prohibits HUD from requiring or enforcing the physical needs assessment (PNA) in fiscal year 2015. HUD is not, however, prohibited from continuing to work on a PNA tool that will help PHAs assess the physical quality of their public housing stock in a way that is not overly burdensome. HUD is expected to continue to evaluate the PNA tool and update its 2014 report to the Committees on Appropriations, as specified in the Senate report accompanying this act, no later than March 2, 2015.

Currently, much of the federal government is being funded under a continuing resolution (CR). That resolution will expire tomorrow, so the House likely will pass a new CR to give the Senate time to approve the omnibus bill.

To receive updates and analysis on the latest PIH news, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking news and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals. Save 10% on your subscription when you order before January 1 during the NMA year-end sale!

Friday news roundup 12/5/14

Economic Policy Institute: A century of public policies that segregated our metropolitan landscape

Housing Finance: 7 must-read housing reports

Housing Finance: Housing groups raise concerns in disparate impact case

Housing Finance: Veterans housing requires strong services

The HUDdle: Children’s messages of what home means to them

The HUDdle: The connection between housing and improved outcomes along the HIV care continuum

The HUDdle: Knowing our energy usage helps reduce our energy consumption

Next City: More people in cities today live in poverty than in 1970

NLIHC: Report highlights AFFH best practices and lessons learned

Off the Charts: Many American children won’t have a safe, stable home this holiday season

Update on 2015 HUD appropriations bill

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4745, the bill that provides funding for HUD in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. The vote was 229 to 192. The U.S. Senate has yet to schedule a vote on its version of the bill (S. 2438).

On June 5, when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 2438, the text of the bill was not available. Now that it is, we can provide you with a more comprehensive summary of what the bill contains.

  • For the HCV program, the Senate bill recommends $19.562 billion in total funding (as compared to $19.177 billion available for this year and $19.357 billion recommended in the House bill), with:

o    $17.719 billion for voucher renewal funding (as compared to $17.366 billion available for this year and $17.693 billion in the House bill)

o    $130 million for tenant protection vouchers (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

o    $1.555 billion for administrative fees (as compared to $1.5 billion available for this year and $1.35 billion in the House bill)

o    $83.16 million for the renewal of Mainstream 5 vouchers (as compared to $106.691 million available for this year and $108.45 million in the House bill)

o    $75 million for incremental HUD–Veterans Affairs supportive housing (VASH) vouchers (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

  • For the public housing program, the Senate bill recommends:

o    $1.9 billion for the capital fund (as compared to $1.875 provided for this year and $1.775 billion in the House bill), with a $45 million set-aside for “supportive services, service coordinator, and congregate services” (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill) and a $15 million set-aside for a Jobs-Plus pilot (also the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

o    $4.475 billion for the operating fund (as compared to $4.4 billion provided for this year and $4.4 billion in the House bill)

o    $10 million for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) (as compared to no funding provided for this year and no funding in the House bill)

o    $90 million for Choice Neighborhoods (as compared to the same amount provided for this year and $25 million in the House bill)

  • For a consolidated family self-sufficiency (FSS) program, the draft recommends $75 million (as compared to the same funding level available for this year and recommended in the House bill). As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) points out in its “Off the Chartsblog post, the bill would also broaden the program’s reach by allowing private owners of HUD-assisted properties to offer FSS to their tenants. (Owners would have to pay for the case management services.)

There is no mention of the new flat rent requirements in the general provisions. You can read the committee report here.

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