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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.

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