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.

Friday news roundup 5/23/14

CBPPThe HUDdle: National Resource Network: Helping cities help themselves

MetroTrends: How black women’s activism changed suburban America

MetroTrends: How to create a more integrated society

NBC New York (via National Fair Housing Alliance): A lawsuit announced yesterday by New York’s Fair Housing Justice alleges racial discrimination by apartment owners in the Bronx

NCSHA: House Appropriations Committee approves FY 2015 HUD funding bill

Next City: HUD launches new network aimed at helping cities learn from each other

Off the Charts: House funding bill disproportionately cuts assistance to low-income renters

Off the Charts: For veterans, more bad news than good in housing funding bill

Washington Post: Housing segregation is holding back the promise of Brown v. Board of Education

Washington Post: What you need to know about Julián Castro, the likely next head of HUD

Meet the NMA team: Cydney Jones

Cydney JonesToday in our interview series we’ll be talking with senior consultant Cydney K. Jones, who recently wrote for the NMA blog about how to run a successful VASH program. With an exceptional knowledge of HUD regulations, she honed her skills while working at the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA), and as a business owner at CKJ Consulting.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I started as the secretary to the executive director at a housing authority.

How many years have you been at NMA?

I’ve been happily working for NMA for over three years, and in the low-income housing industry for almost twenty years.

Education credentials and professional organizations?

I have a bachelor’s degree in communications from Howard University, and am a candidate for a master’s degree in public policy.

What’s one topic you’re most passionate about in the affordable housing industry?

I believe in the housing choice voucher program, and enjoy helping housing authorities administer the program effectively and efficiently. I’m passionate about ensuring the program is run efficiently. Our tax dollars are on the line!

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Issuing housing choice vouchers to families in need.

Describe your typical work day?

I have to travel a lot, which can be a blessing and a curse. But probably the best part of my job is my home office — I usually wear pajamas to work.

Tell us about a successful project that you had a part in.

Unquestionably, our first program management engagement at a large agency in the Midwest was a great overall experience for me as a housing professional. Managing the HCV program from the private sector really allowed us to administer a highly efficient and effective program and also allowed us to be creative in meeting very high performance standards. And the winters in the Midwest build character!

NMA senior consultant Cydney Jones is expert in providing a wide range of technical assistance, management training, and on-site expertise for multifamily assisted programs and the HCV program. She’s also a member of several professional organizations: NAHRO, NLHA, and her local PTA. In her free time, Cydney enjoys boating, rollerskating, swimming, and spending time with her family.

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