Policy News from Congress

Housing Assistance Council Statement on FY 2023 Omnibus Bill

This bipartisan agreement maintains funding for USDA’s rural rental housing portfolio and makes a game-changing investment in manufactured housing.

The Housing Assistance Council appreciates Congress continuing to invest in rural communities through the latest omnibus spending bill and hopes that the next Congress will take further steps in 2023 to address the housing crisis in rural America.

The appropriations agreement reached this week makes significant contributions to affordable rural rental housing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s housing programs. It also provides $225 million in funding for a new manufactured housing financing and improvement program to be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This bipartisan agreement maintains funding for USDA’s rural rental housing portfolio and makes a game-changing investment in manufactured housing,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “Rural communities will use this funding to preserve existing affordable housing, build more, and lay the foundation for a better future.”

More than half of all manufactured homes are in rural places. In May, HAC’s Director of Research and Information Lance George testified to Congress that manufactured housing “should continue to be a high-quality, affordable housing option” for rural America.  By creating the first dedicated funding stream targeted to this essential affordable housing stock, this omnibus spending bill takes a critical first step toward achieving just that.

HAC also appreciates the omnibus’s continued support of capacity building programs through USDA and HUD. Congress has long recognized that housing programs only work when there are local partners helping to build, manage, and maintain affordable homes. With a modest investment in the capacity of small towns’ local housing organizations, rural communities can navigate the complexities of federal programs and modern housing finance. As the only national intermediary dedicated solely to rural housing, HAC is gratified to see HUD’s Rural Capacity Building program receive its first increase in program history, from its founding in 2012 at $5 million to $6 million in FY 2023. This will enable HAC and other RCB grantees to provide training and technical assistance to community-based organizations across rural America.

Yet the omnibus leaves too many rural Americans’ housing problems unaddressed. Most of the housing programs at both USDA and HUD enter 2023 with about the same resources they had in 2022, even as mortgage and rent costs are increasing across the country, USDA-financed rental developments are losing their affordability, and homelessness is increasing in rural areas. HAC calls on the 118th Congress to be bolder – to increase support for proven solutions and to innovate. Both the annual appropriations process and the 2023 Farm Bill offer opportunities for action. HAC’s detailed suggestions can be found here and here.

Everyone deserves a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home. Through the upcoming Farm Bill and the next appropriations cycle, the 118th Congress will have the opportunity to make even more transformative investments that could make that vision a reality.

Policy News from Congress

Final FY23 Spending Bill Boosts Some Rural Housing Programs

Most USDA rural housing programs will see modest boosts or flat funding for fiscal year 2023 in the omnibus spending bill congressional leaders released on December 20, 2022, which is expected to be enacted later this week. Funding for the Section 514 farmworker housing program will drop, however, from $28 million in FY22 to $20 million this year. The Community Facilities grant account is hit even harder, falling from $40 million in FY22 to zero this year, although the bill does add $50 million for CF grants to disaster areas.

— HAC’s analysis of FY23 appropriations for HUD is available here.  —

The bill’s funding levels support rental preservation efforts, although the measure does not decouple (separate) Section 521 Rental Assistance from USDA Section 514 and 515 mortgages. It substantially increases USDA’s Section 538 rental housing loan guarantees, which are used for preservation as well as new construction, from $230 million in FY22 to $400 million in FY23. This program has been fully utilized in the past two years – an indication of strong demand – and the administration’s budget had requested the additional funds. Section 515 direct rental housing loans receive a smaller increase, from $50 million this year to $70 million next year.

The Section 514 farm labor housing loan program, however, is cut from $28 million to $20 million. Section 516 grants hold steady at $10 million.

The bill also supports USDA’s new initiative to improve homeownership opportunities for Native Americans, allocating $7.5 million for Native CDFIs to make Section 502 direct loans to Native Americans.

Emergency funding is provided for some of the rural housing programs, to be used in places where presidentially declared disasters occurred in FY22. The Rural Housing Assistance Grants account – which includes both Section 504 repair grants for low-income elderly homeowners and also Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for owner-occupied or rental housing – receives $60 million. Community Facilities programs get $75.3 million, $50 of which is specifically for grants to repair essential community facilities. These CF grants can cover up to 75 percent of the cost of a repair.

The bill mandates smoke detectors in rental housing that is constructed, rehabilitated, or repaired with Section 515 or Section 514/516 funds, or funding from any of several HUD rental programs. The requirement will take effect in December 2024.

The table below shows the dollar amounts provided for USDA rural housing and community facilities programs.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog. (dollars in millions) FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Budget FY23 House Bill FY23 Senate Bill FY23 Final
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,250 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,250
Nat. Amer. Single Fam. Demo 20.8 12 20.8 7.5
502 Single Family Guar. 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 50 28 30 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 32 45 32 32 32
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 50 200 150 100 70
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 50 30 35 20
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 18 16 14 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,450 1,564 1,494 1,488 1,488
523 Self-Help TA 32 40 33 32 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 16 30 16 16 16
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 250 400 300 400 400
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 34 75 40 45 36
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 45 38 38 50 48
Rental Prsrv. TA 2 0 2 5 2
Community Facil. Loans 2,800 2,800 2,800 2,800 2,800
Community Facil. Grants 40 52 68.1 100 0
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 6 12 8 7 6
Tribal Colleges CF Grts 10 10 10 10 10
Cong. Directed Spending* 126.9 202.3 325.5
Community Facil. Guarantees 650 500 650 650 650

* Congressionally Directed Spending (earmarks) accounts for a large portion of the proposed Community Facilities Grant spending in both the House and Senate bills, and in the final bill. Specific projects, which were listed in the House and Senate committee reports, are catalogued in the explanatory statement for the final bill.

Senate Proposes Rural Housing Funding Increases

The Senate Appropriations Committee proposes rural housing funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year much like those in the administration’s budget request and the bill passed by the House. On July 28, the committee released its version of all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022.

The fate of these bills is unclear. The Senate has not scheduled action on any of them. The House has passed a “minibus” bill that combines appropriations measures for several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but the fiscal year is expected to begin with a continuing resolution holding government spending at FY22 levels. Final appropriations are not likely to be completed until after the midterm elections in early November.

— HAC’s analysis of FY23 appropriations for HUD is available here.  —

Homeownership

The Senate committee’s USDA bill would keep most of the rural single-family housing programs at or near their current funding levels. It endorses the request in USDA’s budget to provide almost $21 million to expand the Native American relending pilot program, which enlists a Native Community Development Financial Institution to work with tribes and Native homebuyers.

Rental Housing

The Senate bill would provide $100 million for Section 515, twice as much as in FY22 but lower than the $200 million requested by the administration – which proposed to finance new Section 515 construction for the first time since fiscal year 2011 – and the $150 million in the House bill. Like the House, this bill also rejects USDA’s request for enough Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) funding to renew the RA contracts created under the American Rescue Plan Act.

To support efforts to preserve existing USDA-financed rental housing, the bill would adopt legislative language proposed in USDA’s budget, allowing RA to be “decoupled” from the Section 515 and Section 514 mortgage programs. As a last resort, if there is no other way to preserve a property as affordable housing, RA could continue to be used even after the mortgage is paid off. The Senate bill would impose a limit on this tactic so that it could be used for no more than 15,000 units in FY23. That ceiling seems unlikely to pose a problem: HAC has reported that 21,693 units left the Section 515 portfolio over a five-year period from early 2016 to 2021, an average of fewer than 4,350 units per year.

In another preservation effort, the bill would more than double technical assistance funding to help nonprofits and public housing authorities purchase and preserve USDA-financed rental properties. The program, which received $2 million in FY22 and was not included in the administration’s budget, would get $5 million.

The explanatory statement released to accompany the bill – equivalent to a committee report for a bill passed by a congressional committee – criticizes USDA for not having developed a rental preservation plan.

Multifamily Technical Assistance Report.—The Committee reminds the Department that the fiscal year 2017 Appropriations Act required the Department to conduct research and identify policy, program reforms, and incentives for preserving rural rental housing and a report summarizing those findings to be submitted to the Committee 2 years later. The report is now 3 years overdue and the Committee directs the Department to submit the completed report within 30 days of enactment of this Act.

Capacity Building

The Senate bill would increase funding for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) from $6 million in FY22 to $7 million in FY23. The House-passed bill would provide $8 million for RCDI next year, and the administration’s budget requested $12 million.

The Senate bill includes $10 million for the Rural Partners Network. It would also provide $15 million for the Institute for Rural Partnerships, first funded in the FY22 USDA appropriations bill.

Community Facilities

The explanatory statement accompanying the Senate committee’s bill tells USDA to find ways to expand community eligibility for community facilities grants.

Community Facilities Eligibility.—The Committee is concerned by the ineligibility of projects under the Community Facilities Grant program located in significantly rural and low-income areas that are defined as distressed but do not qualify for grant funding under this program. The Department is required to evaluate the program’s income and service area-based eligibility standards and identify ways to approve community access to these grants, including whether basing eligibility on national rather than state median household income could benefit areas located in predominantly poor, rural States.

 

USDA Rural Dev. Prog. (dollars in millions) FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Budget FY23 House Bill FY23 Senate Bill
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $656.60 $1,250 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
Nat. Amer. Single Fam. Demo 20.8 12 20.8
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 18.3 28 50 28 30
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 32 45 32 32
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 50 200 150 100
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 50 30 35
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 18 16 14
521 Rental Assistance 1,410 100 1,450 1,564 1,494 1,488
523 Self-Help TA 31 32 40 33 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 16 30 16 16
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 250 400 300 400
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 34 75 40 45
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 40 45 38 38 50
Rental Prsrv. TA 2 2 0 2 5
Community Facil. Loans 2,800 2,800 2,800 2,800 2,800
Community Facil. Grants 32 40 52 68.1 100
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 6 6 12 8 7
Tribal Colleges CF Grts 5 10 10 10 10
Cong. Directed Spending* 126.9 202.3
Community Facil. Guarantees 500 650 500 650 650

* Congressionally Directed Spending (earmarks) accounts for a large portion of the proposed Community Facilities Grant spending in both the House and Senate bills. Specific projects are listed in the House and Senate committee reports.

House Passes USDA Funding Bill

July 20, 2022 – The full House of Representatives passed the USDA appropriations bill as part of a “minibus” that combines several funding bills, including those for USDA and HUD. The Senate has not yet begun actions on FY23 appropriations, and a continuing resolution is expected to be needed to begin the fiscal year on October 1, 2022.

House Funding Bill Includes Modest Increases for Some Rural Housing Programs, Though Less Than USDA Requested

On June 14, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a funding bill for fiscal year 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. The House bill proposes less funding for several rural housing programs than the administration’s budget did, while also rejecting the administration’s cut in Community Facilities guaranteed loans.

The full committee will consider the bill on June 23.

The House would increase the Section 515 rental housing program and the MPR rental preservation program above current levels, but not to the extent proposed by the administration. It would raise the Rural Community Development Initiative capacity building program from this year’s $6 million to $8 million in FY23 rather than the $12 million USDA requested. The rental preservation technical assistance program would receive $2 million again under the House bill, although USDA did not propose any funding for it.

It is not clear whether the bill is intended to fund renewals of the Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts added by the American Rescue Plan Act, but it proposes lower funding for Section 521 than the administration’s budget, which explicitly stated it did include the new contracts. Also, the House bill does not adopt USDA’s proposal to “decouple” the Section 521 Rental Assistance program from the Section 515 and 514/516 programs, which would allow properties to continue to receive Rental Assistance after their USDA mortgages end.

Like USDA’s budget, the House bill would expand USDA’s pilot program for Native American mortgage lending, which provides funds to Native CDFIs to be reloaned to homebuyers.

Budget Requests Increases in Most Rural Housing Programs

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2023 proposes funding increases for almost every U.S. Department of Agriculture rural housing program, along with some important program changes for preservation of aging rental housing.

The March 28, 2022 budget release is only the first step in the process of developing federal appropriations for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2022. HAC held a webinar to review the budget’s contents and what to expect over the coming months; view the slides and recording here.

Rental Housing

The USDA budget proposes to quadruple Section 515 rental housing from $50 million in FY22 to $200 million in FY23, with the funds to be used for preserving existing Section 515 properties. The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program, which finances efforts to upgrade and maintain aging units constructed with Section 515 financing or the Section 514/516 farmworker housing program, would jump from $34 million this year to $75 million in FY23.

Farmworker housing loans and grants would almost double, with $6 million in Section 521 Rental Assistance set aside for new Section 514/516 units. The Section 538 loan guarantee program would see a large increase as well. (Details are provided in the table below.)

The $1.564 billion requested for Section 521 Rental Assistance renewals “will enable 272,000 existing contracts to be renewed, including making permanent the approximately 27,000 units that were brought into the program by the American Rescue Plan Act supplemental funding,” according to USDA’s budget explanation. The same document states, however, that RA assisted 284,194 tenant households in FY21.

The budget also asks Congress to “decouple” Rental Assistance from Section 515. Currently the programs are linked: RA cannot be made available to a property unless it has a USDA Section 515 or 514 loan. Separating them, so that RA could be offered after a property pays off its USDA mortgage, would help keep properties affordable for their tenants.

To protect tenants whose properties leave the USDA portfolio without decoupling, the administration proposes to provide $20 million in HUD Tenant Protection Vouchers. Based on the assumption that decoupling and the availability of HUD vouchers will eliminate the need for new USDA vouchers, the budget requests only enough Section 542 funding to renew existing assistance.

Homeownership

The budget proposes to increase funding for all USDA’s homeownership programs. It would also provide $20.8 million to expand the Native American Section 502 Relending pilot program. The pilot has enabled Native Community Development Financial Institutions to assist Native American homebuyers in tribal communities of South Dakota and North Dakota.

Rural Partnership Program

Pursuing an idea proposed in the Build Back Better Act, which has not been passed by Congress, the budget proposes $39 million for the Rural Partnership Program. In a statement about the budget, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described it as “a renewed and expanded initiative to leverage USDA’s extensive network of county-based offices to help people in high poverty counties, including energy communities.”

Placemaking

The budget would provide $3 million for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge “to provide planning support, technical assistance, and training to foster placemaking activities in rural communities.” [NOTE: This sentence was corrected on March 29 to say $3 million. When this post was published, it stated incorrectly that the amount was $3 billion.]

Energy Efficiency and Climate Resilience

All USDA housing production would be required to “improve energy or water efficiency, indoor air quality, or sustainability improvements, implement low-emission technologies, materials, or processes, including zero-emission electricity generation, energy storage, building electrification, or electric car charging station installations; or address climate resilience of multifamily properties.”

 

Policy News from Congress

HUD Spending Bill Creates New Manufactured Housing Program and Emphasizes New Construction

Final fiscal year 2023 funding levels for most HUD programs remain steady or receive slight increases in the omnibus spending bill congressional leaders released on December 20, 2022, which is expected to be enacted later this week. The measure also shifts some funds around in small programs that are important to rural areas, and creates new efforts to improve manufactured homes and to increase the supply of affordable housing.

— HAC’s analysis of appropriations for USDA’s rural housing programs for FY23 is available here. —

Rural Considerations

The explanatory statement that accompanies the bill “urges the Department to enhance its efforts to provide decent, affordable housing and to promote economic development for Americans living in rural areas. When designing programs and making funding decisions, the Department shall take into consideration the unique conditions, challenges, and scale of rural areas.”

Among the bill’s provisions, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) receives a small increase from $12.5 million in FY22 to $13.5 million in FY23. Similarly, the Rural Capacity Building (RCB) program inches up from $5 million last year to $6 million for the current year. The Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program, however, which is funded in the same account as SHOP and RCB, drops to $1 million from its $4 million in FY22.

The bill doubles the Healthy Homes funding for home modifications and renovations to help low-income elderly homeowners remain in their homes. In FY22 this effort received $15 million, of which $5 million was set aside for rural areas. In FY23 the total is $30 million, with a $10 million rural setaside.

Manufactured Housing

A new Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE) will receive $225 million to preserve and revitalize manufactured housing. The funds will be distributed over five years as competitive grants to states, local governments, resident-owned manufactured housing communities, cooperatives, nonprofits, community development financial institutions, Tribes, and other entities designated by HUD. Grantees must provide a 50 percent match for the federal funds.

These grants can be used for homes that are not in manufactured housing communities, or in manufactured housing communities that are owned by resident-controlled entities or are legally required to remain affordable for the long term. Eligible uses of funds include infrastructure, planning, resident and community services (including relocation assistance and eviction prevention), resiliency activities (defined as reconstruction, repair, or replacement to protect the health and safety of manufactured housing residents and to address weatherization and energy efficiency needs), and assistance for land and site acquisition. The funds can be used to replace pre-1976 mobile homes, but not to repair them. HUD must prioritize applications that primarily benefit low- or moderately low-income residents and preserve long-term housing affordability for residents of manufactured housing or a manufactured housing community.

Within the $225 million total, $25 million is set aside for a pilot program to provide grants to assist in the redevelopment of manufactured housing communities as affordable replacement housing. Eligible activities include relocation assistance or buy-outs for residents of a manufactured housing community or downpayment assistance for the residents.

New Construction

The bill establishes two new efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing. First, it provides $75 million under the Continuum of Care program for new construction, acquisition, or rehabilitation of new permanent supportive housing.

Second, it creates a new grant program – dubbed a “Yes In My Back Yard” program in the explanatory statement – to incentivize affordable housing production. HUD will receive $85 million for competitive grants to state and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and multijurisdictional entities to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation.

Smoke Alarms

The bill imposes a new requirement for smoke alarms in units assisted by the public housing, Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Project-Based Rental Assistance, Section 202, Section 811, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS programs. The same mandate is added for the USDA Section 515 and 514/516 rental programs. The requirement will take effect in December 2024.

The table below shows the dollar amounts provided for HUD programs in regular appropriations. A different title in the bill provides additional amounts to be used for disaster relief; for HUD, these are $2.66 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, $969,000 for Project-Based Rental Assistance, and $3 billion for CDBG Disaster Relief.

HUD Program (dollars in millions) FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Admin. Budget FY23 House Bill FY23 Senate Bill FY23 Final
CDBG $3,300* $3,770 $3,300 $3,525 $3,300
HOME 1,500 1,950 1,675 1,725 1,500
Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP) 12.5 10 12.5 17 13.5
Veterans Home Rehab 4 4 0 4 1
Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce. 27,370 32,130 31,043 30,182 27,600
      VASH setaside 50 0 50 85 50
      Tribal VASH 5 5 5 5 7.5
Project-Based Rental Asstnce. 13,940 15,000 14,940 14,687 13,938
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 3,388 3,720 3,670 3,405 3,200
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 5,064 5,060 5,063 5,064 5,109
Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative 350 250 450 250 350
Native Amer. Hsg. 1,002 1,000 1,000 1,052 1,020
Homeless Assistance Grants 3,213 3,576 3,604 3,545 3,633
Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS 450 455 600 468 499
202 Hsg. for Elderly 1,033 966 1,200 1,033 1,075
811 Hsg. for Disabled 352 288 400 288 360
Fair Housing 85 86 86 85 86
Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl. 415 400 415 390 410
Housing Counseling 57.5 65.9 70 63 57.5

* A substantial increase in CDBG funding for FY22 was driven nearly entirely by the return, after a 10-year absence, of $1.5 billion for the Economic Development Initiative for the purpose of funding Community Projects/Congressionally Directed Spending (popularly known as “earmarks”). In FY23, just under $3 billion is added for earmarks. These figures are not included in the table.

Senate’s HUD Funding Bill Increases SHOP, Leaves Out New Manufactured Housing Proposal

Funding increases for many Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs would be provided by a just-released Senate Appropriations Committee bill, including a raise for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) to $17 million from its current $12.5 million level.

— HAC’s analysis of appropriations for USDA’s rural housing programs for FY23 is available here. —

The committee’s proposal for fiscal year 2023 HUD funding does not, however, include the new $500 million Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program that was adopted by the House in its HUD appropriations bill (described in more detail below). Neither the Senate bill nor its House counterpart includes the new Housing Supply Fund proposed in the administration’s budget (also described below).

The Senate bill also does not match either the House’s proposal to create 140,000 new vouchers, or the HUD budget’s proposal to add 200,000 vouchers targeted to individuals fleeing domestic violence and persons experiencing homelessness.

Some other important measures are included in the Senate committee’s bill in addition to its funding provisions. One would reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA). Another, the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, would permanently authorize the CDBG Disaster Recovery program and make other changes intended to get disaster recovery aid to survivors more quickly.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released the HUD funding bill on July 28 along with other appropriations bills for fiscal 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. The fate of these proposals is unclear. The Senate has not scheduled action on any of them. The House has passed a “minibus” bill that combines appropriations measures for several agencies, including HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the fiscal year is expected to begin with a continuing resolution holding government spending at FY22 levels. Final appropriations are not likely to be completed until after the midterm elections in early November.

HUD Program (dollars in millions) FY21 Final Approp. FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Admin. Budget House Bill Senate Bill
CDBG $3,475 $4,841* $3,770 $3,300 $3,525
HOME 1,350 1,500 1,950 1,675 1,725
Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP) 10 12.5 10 12.5 17
Veterans Home Rehab 4 4 4 0 4
Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce. 25,778 27,370 32,130 31,043 30,182
VASH setaside 40 50 0 50 85
Tribal VASH 5 5 5 5 5
Project-Based Rental Asstnce. 13,465 13,940 15,000 14,940 14,687
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 2,942 3,388 3,720 3,670 3,405
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 4,864 5,064 5,060 5,063 5,064
Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative 200 350 250 450 250
Native Amer. Hsg. 825 1,002 1,000 1,000 1,052
Homeless Assistance Grants 3,000 3,213 3,576 3,604 3,545
Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS 430 450 455 600 468
202 Hsg. for Elderly 855 1,033 966 1,200 1,033
811 Hsg. for Disabled 227 352 288 400 288
Fair Housing 72.6 85 86 86 85
Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl. 360 415 400 415 390
Housing Counseling 57.5 57.5 65.9 70 63

* The substantial increase in CDBG funding for FY22 was driven nearly entirely by the return, after a 10-year absence, of $1.5 billion for the Economic Development Initiative for the purpose of funding Community Projects/Congressionally Directed Spending (popularly known as “earmarks”).

House Passes HUD Appropriations

July 20, 2022 – The full House of Representatives passed the HUD appropriations bill as part of a “minibus” that combines several funding bills, including those for USDA and HUD. The Senate has not yet begun actions on FY23 appropriations, and a continuing resolution is expected to be needed to begin the fiscal year on October 1, 2022.

House HUD Appropriations Bill Proposes New Vouchers and New Manufactured Housing Program

The House’s draft FY23 appropriations bill for HUD would increase the department’s total funding above both the FY22 level and the amount requested in the administration’s budget. (See table below.) The House Appropriations Committee estimates the bill would fund more than 140,000 new housing vouchers targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness and approximately 5,600 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The House’s HUD bill would provide $500 million for a new Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program to preserve and revitalize manufactured homes and their communities (including pre-1976 mobile homes). Grants would be distributed through a competition, with eligible applicants including states, local governments, Tribes, nonprofits, CDFIs, resident-owned manufactured housing communities or coops, and possibly other entities. Funds could be used for “infrastructure, planning, resident and community services (including relocation assistance and eviction prevention), resiliency activities, and providing other assistance to residents or owners of manufactured homes, which may include providing assistance for manufactured housing land and site acquisition.”

House appropriators propose to increase the total funding for HOME to $1.675 billion from FY22’s $1.5 billion and to set aside $50 million of it to provide down payment assistance for first-time, first-generation home buyers.

The SHOP program would remain at its FY22 level of $12.5 million. The bill does not include funding for the small $4 million Veterans Home Rehabilitation program.

The bill would not create the Housing Supply Fund proposed in the administration’s budget.

The House Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee will hold a markup on June 23 and the full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on June 30.

HUD Budget Proposes New Housing Investments

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2023 proposes substantial investments in existing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs (details are in the table below) and new initiatives targeted to:

  • Increasing affordable housing supply;
  • Expanding rental assistance and increasing its impact on households experiencing homelessness and family mobility; and
  • Addressing climate change.

The March 28 budget release is only the first step in the process of developing federal appropriations for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2022. HAC held a webinar to review the budget’s contents and what to expect over the coming months; view the slides and recording here.

Increasing Affordable Housing Supply

The budget proposes $50 billion in mandatory spending to increase and streamline affordable housing production. HUD would administer $35 billion of this total as a Housing Supply Fund, consisting of two elements:

  • $25 billion in formula grants to be distributed to “State and local housing finance agencies and their partners, territories, and Tribes” to support streamlined financing tools for multifamily and single-family units, producing housing for both renters and homebuyers. The funding is intended to facilitate the production and preservation of smaller developments that struggle to obtain financing in the current housing finance system. The budget specifically notes that “many rural and midsize jurisdictions need a path to development that includes smaller building footprints to better integrate with existing communities.”
  • $10 billion in grants to: 1) support state and local jurisdictions that adopt policies that remove barriers to affordable housing and development; and 2) incentivize funding of housing-related infrastructure such as environmental planning, transportation, and water/sewer infrastructure.

The remaining $15 billion in mandatory funding is to be administered by the Department of the Treasury, divided into:

  • $10 billion in additional Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC); and
  • $5 billion in grants to Community Development Financial Institutions to support financing for construction, acquisition, rehab and preservation of rental and homeownership housing, with an emphasis on increasing the participation of small-scale developers and contractors. The grants will seek to:
    • increase the climate resiliency and energy efficiency of affordable housing;
    • focus on underserved markets, including single-family, small properties (1-4 units) and small multifamily properties with fewer than 100 units;
    • expand homeownership opportunities by targeting single-family properties for individuals and families with incomes up to 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and up to 150 percent of AMI in high cost areas (including acquisition and rehabilitation); and
    • preserve affordable housing that is at risk of conversion to market rate.

Additional investments in existing HUD programs designed to complement the Housing Supply Fund grants include $2 billion in funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships program ($150 million above the FY 2022 enacted level), $100 million in funding for 1,100 new units in the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and 900 new units in the 811 Permanent Supportive Housing Program for Persons with Disabilities.

Rental Assistance, Homelessness, and Family Mobility

In addition to renewing all existing project-based rental assistance (PBRA) contracts and Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) currently in use, the budget proposes $1.6 billion in funding to expand the Housing Choice Voucher program by 200,000 subsidies – the largest one-year expansion since the program’s inception – with the incremental subsidies targeting individuals fleeing domestic violence and persons experiencing homelessness. This effort to combat homelessness is coupled with a $576 million increase in the Homeless Assistance Grants account to $3 billion. The budget also includes $445 million in mobility services connected to use of HCVs in a broad range of communities.

Addressing Climate Change

In addition to the sustainability and resilience incentives in the Housing Supply Fund, the HUD budget includes:

  • $300 million to increase energy efficiency and climate resilience in public housing;
  • $150 million in funding for housing initiatives on Native American lands to increase energy efficiency and climate resilience and improve water conservation; and
  • $250 million to rehabilitate HUD multifamily properties to be healthier, more energy efficient, and climate-resilient.

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 1/18: HAC is Seeking a Consulting Partner to Assist with Our Strategic Plan

Are you an emerging consulting firm passionate about working with CDFIs, Non-Profits, and/or Rural Communities? We invite you to submit a proposal for HAC’s strategic planning process!

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) seeks a consultant to support the organization and our stakeholders in the creation of a three-to-five-year strategic plan. Through the strategic planning process, we hope to:

  • Build on HAC’s current momentum and growth.
  • Re-affirm and/or refine the organization’s values.
  • Inclusively engage with staff, Board, and external stakeholders.
  • Identify measurable goals for HAC’s key community development and housing programs.
  • Explore new approaches to address historic housing challenges in rural community development.

If you are interested, please review the attached RFP for greater detail on aims, scopes, deliverables, and proposal layout.

HAC reviews proposals, hires consultants, and employs staff with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and providing the opportunity for those of us from communities that have been underserved based on race, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, marital or familial status, ancestry, or status as a veteran. Businesses owned and run by people of those communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

For any questions about this RFP, contact strategic@ruralhome.org.

All Applications are Due by Thursday, 1/18/2023 *DEADLINE EXTENDED*

HAC in the News

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Contact: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
AHRV Team, ahrv@ruralhome.org
(202) 842-8600

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Funded by The Home Depot Foundation

Washington, DC, June 7, 2022 – Veterans and their families in thirteen rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $375,107 to thirteen local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The grants are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s mission to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans and invest $500 million in veteran causes by 2025. Many veterans and their families face major housing challenges, often exacerbated by issues related to unemployment, age, and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are dedicated to giving back to those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation.

As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative, HAC works with The Home Depot Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans. “HAC’s partnership with The Home Depot Foundation continues to be a vital factor in our ability to strengthen the capacity of local rural organizations in their efforts to build and preserve homes of veterans across rural America,” said David Lipsetz, HAC’s CEO. “Growing nonprofit capacity empowers communities and serves as an impact multiplier, enabling nonprofits to expand their services and assist more veterans with overcoming housing challenges.”  As rural America is home to a disproportionately high number of service women and men, HAC remains deeply committed to supporting our nation’s service women and men by uplifting local nonprofits and their work to house and ensure the safe habitability of their homes and rural communities.

The grantee organizations – described below – provide a range of programs. With the grants, veterans who own homes in Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and West Virginia will obtain critical repair assistance. Altogether, 65 veterans and their families will benefit from these grants.

About The Home Depot Foundation 

The Home Depot Foundationworks to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, support communities impacted by natural disasters and train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $400 million in veteran causes and improved more than 50,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025 and $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit HomeDepotFoundation.organd follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook and Instagram @HomeDepotFoundation.

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities.

About the Grantees

  • Adults and Youth United Development Association, Inc., San Elizario, TX, will utilize $30,000 to provide needed critical repairs for ten (10) veterans in the Border Colonia area of the state of Texas. For additional information on Adults and Youth United Development, Inc., visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ayudaorg/.
  • Bethlehem Farms, Inc., Alderson, WV, will utilize $30,000 to support rehabilitation and modification of eight (8) veteran homes, prioritizing critical repairs to remove unsafe living conditions. For additional information on Bethlehem Farms, Inc., visit their website at https://bethlehemfarm.net.
  • Eureka Christian Health Outreach, Eureka Springs, AR, will utilize $28,350 to support the development of one (1) “small home” which will become part of the Echo Village community, which serves veteran residents with temporary housing together with access to critical counseling, medical, skills training, social services, and “best life possible” supportive services. For additional information on Eureka Christian Health Outreach, visit their website at www.echofreeclinic.org.
  • Good Works, Inc., Coatesville, PA, will utilize $14,891 to provide critical health and safety repairs to one (1) home of an elderly veteran. For additional information on Good Works, Inc., visit their website at https://www.goodworksinc.org.
  • GROW South Dakota, Sisseton, SD, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical home repairs for six (6) veterans. For additional information on GROW South Dakota, visit their website at https://www.growsd.org.
  • Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin River Area, Baraboo, WI, will utilize $30,000 to support critical repairs and accessibility modifications for five (5) rural low-income disabled veterans. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin River Area, visit their website at https://hfhwisconsinriver.org.
  • Hope for All, Mountain Home, AR, will utilize $31,866 to support the renovation and structural repairs to a seventy (70) year old home, used as a homeless shelter to assist four (4) rural veterans. For additional information on Hope for All, visit their website at https://www.hopeforallmh.org.
  • Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs, Raymond, MS, will utilize $30,000 to assist in the construction of one (1) veteran cottage, which will become part of a fifteen (15) unit “Warrior Cottages” housing complex meeting the need for emergency and transitional housing for veterans. For additional information on the Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=MS%20Center%20for%20Police%20and%20Sheriffs
  • Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, Fargo, ND, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and ADA modification of three (3) veteran owned units. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, visit their website at https://www.rebuildingtogetherfma.org.
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Ballston Spa, NY, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and modification of four (4) veteran owned units. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, visit their website at https://www.rtsaratoga.org.
  • Red Feather Development Group, Flagstaff, AZ, will utilize $30,000 to assist six (6) Native American veteran homeowners with critical roof replacements and ADA modifications. For additional information on Red Feather Development Group, visit their website at www.redfeather.org.
  • Southern Appalachian Labor School, Kincaid, WV, will utilize $30,000 to construct ADA accessible ramps and address critical adaptation or safety issues for twelve (12) veterans. For additional information on Southern Appalachian Labor School, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Southern-Appalachian-Labor-School-284621148272166/.
  • Tangi Community Development, Amite, LA, will utilize $30,000 to support rehabilitation and ADA modifications on four (4) disabled veteran homes. For additional information on Tangi Community Development, visit their website at https://www.tangicdcnonprofit.org.
Solar panels covering parking spaces at Calistoga Family Apartmentshttps://flic.kr/p/CpXy7x The U.S. Department of Agriculture

Housing Assistance Council Receives Gift from Mackenzie Scott

Contact: Jennifer McAllister
(202) 842-8600
jennifer@ruralhome.org

Washington, DC, March 23, 2022 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to announce a $7,000,000 gift from MacKenzie Scott, the largest private gift in HAC’s 50-year history. HAC will leverage this funding to establish and grow local organizations that build affordable housing in the nation’s poorest and most rural places. This gift ensures that more people and more communities will enjoy the benefits of American prosperity.

“HAC and our local partners work in small towns and rural communities to develop good quality housing that folks can afford,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “Ms. Scott’s trust in our organization and encouragement to do more will help plenty of communities in need.”

“This gift helps HAC remain true to its mission,” said Maria Luisa Mercado, HAC’s Board Chair. “We will continue to be the voice for the poorest of the poor in the most rural places.”

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided: below-market financing for affordable housing and community development; technical assistance and training for community-based organizations; research on life in rural places; and information for federal policy-makers on the impact of their work on rural places. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

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Build Healthy Places Network Launches Community Innovations for Racial Equity

Build Healthy Places Network (BHPN) is launching Community Innovations for Racial Equity to build BIPOC-led community development capacity, support innovative community ownership models, and address the barriers within community development and health partnerships to effectively propel racial equity.


Call for applications – Join Community Innovations for Racial Equity!

BHPN, with funding from The Kresge Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation has launched Community Innovations for Racial Equity (CIRE) to build BIPOC-led community development capacity, support innovative community ownership models, and address the barriers within community development and health partnerships to effectively propel racial equity. An RFP was just released, and applications are due Friday, March 18. CIRE is an 18-month program available for up to ten eligible organizations motivated to engage healthcare partners to advance racial equity. Selected organizations will be awarded up to $40,000 to support staff or a consultant to lead healthcare engagement, $60,000 of in-kind technical support provided by the BHPN, and facilitated connections to a national network of peer support. Please visit the RFP webpage to learn more about eligibility guidelines and award commitments.


Seeking input from BIPOC-led Community Development Corporations

BHPN wants to hear from BIPOC-led community development corporations (CDCs) about how they are engaging with the health sector to better support partnerships that advance racial equity. Our goal is to uncover the needs relative to challenges and impacts emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic among these partnerships. Whether your CDC has never thought about partnering with healthcare, has made it a priority, or falls somewhere in between, we want to hear from you. The results of this survey will inform tools and capacity building resources for the field.

The results will be shared in the aggregate – individual responses will be kept anonymous.


Housing Assistance Council Logo

Calling for Housing Equity on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Our homes affect every facet of our lives, including our wealth, health, and education. That’s why freedom from housing discrimination is a central pillar of the Civil Rights Movement’s vision for a more just, equitable, and free America. All people deserve a safe, healthy, and affordable home. Yet, for hundreds of years, the United States has not included all its communities in the full promise of a place to call home.

Many of those communities are rural. Across the country, the deepest, most persistent poverty is largely in rural areas. And among those places, Rural Black communities are vastly overrepresented. It is why small towns like Grenada, Mississippi; Selma, Alabama; and Midway, Georgia played such big roles in the Civil Rights Movement.

Today, as we honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us be even more dedicated to combatting inequity in all its forms. Achieving the dream of a nation in which everyone has a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home will take significant, sustained investments in combatting racial and geographic inequity.

Rural Housing Awards 2021

HAC Celebrates Rural Housing at the 2021 National Rural Housing Conference

As part of the 2021 National Rural Housing Conference, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) recognized individuals and/or organizations that have, through their continued work and or newly established initiatives, made a positive and lasting impact to affordable housing in rural America.
The Covid pandemic was a paradigm shift that tested the strength, and temerity of communities across the country and one that centered housing, not just as a critical human need, but as a human right. Acknowledging the difficulty of the past year and the many associated inequities revealed, HAC seeks to honor those that leaned into the challenges to create positive impacts in rural America. In doing so, HAC has invited nominations for both individuals and/or organizations who have made outstanding and enduring contribution to affordable housing in rural America. Having faced a number of impediments from a common enemy, and all working towards the betterment of society, HAC seeks to recognize positive contributions from the smallest grassroots and on-the-ground housers and practitioners, to the highest elected offices in the US.
Out of long list of nominees, the Housing Assistance Council is proud to announce the following selectees for a 2021 Rural Housing Service Award:
This award is in recognition of your distinguished service in housing for the rural poor, steadfast commitment to rural communities, and outstanding contributions to those in greatest need in the most rural of places. Please join us in recognizing these esteemed friends of rural America!

Watch the Awards

Past Recipients of Rural Housing Awards

 

Policy News from Congress

Federal Funding Extended to February 18

Hours before a temporary spending measure was set to expire on December 3, both houses of Congress passed and President Biden signed another continuing resolution that will carry funding through February 18, 2022. Fiscal year 2022 began on October 1, 2021.

The measure holds most government programs, including housing programs at USDA and HUD, at their fiscal 2021 funding levels. Bills proposing increased resources for housing at both USDA and HUD passed the House of Representatives in July 2021 and have been introduced in the Senate.