April 9, 2021 – The Biden Administration’s first budget request, released today, outlines priorities including increases in some Department of Housing and Urban Development programs but does not mention the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing programs. A more detailed budget will be issued later this spring.
The Administration proposes to increase funding above current levels for the Rural e-Connectivity broadband program, rural water and wastewater programs and USDA’s civil rights office. It also:
Partners with Rural Leaders to Grow Rural Economies and Tackle Rural Poverty. The discretionary request provides $32 million for a renewed and expanded initiative to leverage USDA’s extensive network of offices to help people in high poverty communities tap into Federal resources, referred to as the “Strikeforce” initiative. USDA will coordinate with other Federal agencies on an all-of-Government approach to connect rural stakeholders with Federal programs and resources.
Rural development is also mentioned in a paragraph about Community Development Financial Institutions:
Invests in American Communities and Small Businesses. To support and empower the Nation’s most vulnerable communities, including many rural communities, the discretionary request provides $330 million, an increase of 22.2 percent above the 2021 enacted level for annual appropriations, to support expanding the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which offer loans to start-ups and small businesses to promote the production of affordable housing and community revitalization projects. This investment builds on an unprecedented level of support for the CDFI industry in 2021, including more than $3 billion in direct funding, $9 billion for investments in CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions, and provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 encouraging CDFI participation in the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative.
HUD funds requested in the budget document include:
- 200,000 new vouchers;
- $1.9 billion for the HOME program, an increase of $500 million over FY21 funding;
- support for an additional 100,000 homeless households;
- $800 million for modernization and rehabilitation of HUD-supported housing;
- $3.2 billion for public housing modernization;
- $180 million to support 2,000 units of new permanently affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities;
- $900 million for Native American housing;
- $3.8 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, including “a targeted increase of $295 million to incentivize communities to direct formula funds toward the modernization and rehabilitation of public infrastructure and facilities in historically underfunded and marginalized communities facing persistent poverty”;
- $400 million, a $40 million increase, for prevention of lead and other hazards; and
- $85 million for fair housing.
The HUD section of the document states that, “The discretionary request supports access to homeownership for underserved borrowers through the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) mortgage insurance programs.”