Posts

Administration Again Proposes Eliminating Many Housing Programs

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, much like its FY19 and FY18 budgets, would eliminate most of USDA’s rural housing programs, along with CDBG, HOME, and SHOP. It would require tenants in both USDA and HUD properties to pay more for their homes. It would also cut USDA Rural Development staff below their already reduced levels.

Register Now for HAC’s webinar on the Administration’s FY 2020 Budget.

USDA

Like the Administration’s FY19 budget, this year’s proposal would zero out funding for all rural housing programs except Section 502 guarantees, Section 538 guarantees for rental housing production, and renewals of existing Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 vouchers. It would require tenants in USDA-assisted rental housing to pay at least $50 per month unless they apply for and receive a hardship exemption from USDA. It would also rescind $40 million from the Section 521 Rental Assistance program; that amount represents funding carried over from one year to the next to avoid potential shortfalls in funding availability to renew RA contracts at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Voucher funding would be combined with RA in a single account. USDA’s budget summary shows a $1.407 billion line item for Rental Assistance, but that amount includes $32 million for vouchers and does not account for the $40 million proposed rescission. USDA says this is enough to renew current contracts.

The budget calls for 3,776 Rural Development employees, saying this is 613 staff years below the 2019 estimate.

USDA Rural Development Appropriations[tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 Final Approp.

FY 20 Admin. Budget

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside*

$1,100
5

0
0

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000 24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

28

0

28 0

504 VLI Repair Grants

30

0

30 0

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

40

0

40 0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23

0

27.5 0

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.4

0

10 0

521 Rental Assistance

1,345

1,331.4

1,331.4 1,335**

523 Self-Help TA

30

0

30 0

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

10

0

15 0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

230

250

230 250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

0

24.5 0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

25

20

27 32**

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

0

6 ***

Rental Prsrv. TA

1

0

1 0

* For the self-help setaside in Section 502 direct, the figures in the table represent budget authority, not program levels.
** The budget would move vouchers into the Rental Assistance account.
*** The budget documents available on March 11 do not mention RCDI. Details scheduled to be released on March 18 should confirm whether the Administration proposes any funding for this capacity building program.

HUD

The budget would decrease HUD’s funding by 16.4 percent. It would eliminate CDBG, HOME, SHOP, and support for public housing’s capital needs.

It would impose work requirements on HUD-assisted tenants and would include the Administration’s April 2018 proposed rent increases. It would moderately increase HUD’s staffing and would finance improvements to outdated technology. HUD’s summary of the request says rental assistance would be maintained for all currently assisted tenants.

HUD Appropriations [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 Final Approp.

FY20 Admin. Budget

CDBG

$3,300

0

$3,300 0

HOME

1,362

0

1,250 0

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

0

10 0

Veterans Home Rehab

4

0

4 0

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

22,015
40
5

20,550
0
4

22,598
40
4
22,244
?
?

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

11,515

10,952

11,747 12,021

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

2,750

0

2,775 0

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,550

3,279

4,653 2,863

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

150

0

150 0

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grt.

655

600

655 600

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,513

2,383

2,636 2,599

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

375

330

393 330

202 Hsg. for Elderly

678

563

678 644

811 Hsg. for Disabled

230

132

184 157

Fair Housing

65.3

62.3

65.3 62

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

230

145

279 290

Housing Counseling

55

45

50 45

FY19 Budget Proposes to Eliminate Most Rural Housing Programs

Guarantees for bank loans would remain at current levels and basic rent aid for tenants would continue, but other rural housing assistance would be wiped out under the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 released on February 12, 2018. Although tenants would continue receiving assistance, they would face a new requirement to pay at least $50 per month in rent unless they are deemed to experience economic hardship.

This budget is much the same as last year’s proposal for rural housing. Last year the Section 504 grant program – which offers small grants to elderly homeowners with very low incomes to repair health and safety hazards in their homes – would have been rolled into a new pool of money called the Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program. This year’s budget does not include that infrastructure grant proposal, and would simply eliminate Section 504 grants. The House incorporated the infrastructure grant idea into its FY18 appropriations bill, but both the House and the Senate rejected most of the program eliminations proposed by the Administration last year.

The guarantee programs that would remain – Section 502 guarantees for homebuyers and Section 538 guarantees for builders of rental housing in rural places – cover their own costs through fees, so the government pays only the costs of administering them.

USDA’s Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 voucher programs, which assist tenants in two different sets of circumstances, would be funded at levels similar to current amounts. The $20 million proposed for vouchers, however, is too low to help all eligible tenants who want vouchers. HAC believes at least $27 million will be needed for these renters whose landlords pay off their USDA mortgages, either early or at maturity.

In addition to the new $50 rent requirement, the budget proposes to allow USDA to recapture Rental Assistance funds from past years’ agreements if the department determines a property no longer needs RA, and to use those funds for other properties. It would also let USDA transfer unneeded RA or voucher funds to any other rural housing programs. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 House Bill (H.R. 3268)a

FY18 Senate Bill (S. 1603)a

FY19 Admin Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

24

26.3

0

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

c

28.7

0

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

28.4

35

0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

15

23.8

0

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

6

8.3

0

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405b

1,345

1,345

1,331.4b

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

25

30

0

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

a

5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

230

230

250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

15

22

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20

19.4

20

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

4

0

a. FY18 appropriation is not yet final.
b. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18, so total available in FY17 was $1.365 billion and total available in FY18 would be $1.385 billion. The FY19 budget assumes that this “forward funding” continues, so more than $1.331 billion would be available in FY19.
c. Section 504 loans and other non-housing loans would have been rolled into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program.

Broadband to house - USDA

HAC’s Moises Loza: Administration’s Housing Budget “Strikes Particularly Hard at Rural and Tribal Communities”

Moises Loza Speaking by Moises Loza, HAC’s Executive Director

I have worked in rural housing since 1973 and I have never seen a budget proposal that is indifferent to the needs of the most vulnerable rural people. Until now.

Vast proposed cuts to federal housing programs couple with a wholesale ripping of the social safety net for the most vulnerable. The budget strikes particularly at tribal and rural communities. Many of these communities, in decline for decades, are now awash in a national opioid crisis and are far-removed from Wall Street’s economic recovery. The budget falls hardest on those whom HAC’s partners serve: the elderly and/or disabled, often with incomes of $15,000 per year or less. Eliminating housing, food, and related assistance for vulnerable rural people destabilizes communities and upends families.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service—a linchpin of rural affordable housing built on public-private partnerships—would become a shell of its former self under the budget proposal. Doing away with rural housing, water, sewer, and other rural development mainstays would derail decades of infrastructure investment, particularly in rural counties mired in persistent poverty. Though much work remains, investments in rural America have improved the quality of life for millions.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

How do we respond to this? HAC and our partners will continue to do what we have always done: Innovate with already meager resources to bring safe, decent, and affordable housing to those who most need it. In carrying out such efforts, I encourage HAC’s partners to make sure that members of Congress and the Administration are aware of this indispensable work. We invite USDA Secretary Perdue and HUD Secretary Carson to meet with HAC and our rural partners to hear this message.
I am heartened that Republicans and Democrats alike are speaking up to defend rural investments that make us all stronger.

Time and time again, leaders across the political spectrum have stepped forward to champion investment in rural housing and communities upon seeing the impact of such work in their communities. We need champions for rural America now more than ever.

Trump Administration Proposes to Eliminate Most Rural Housing Programs

Register for HAC's webinar overview of Trump Administration's BudgetRegister for HAC’s webinar overview of Trump Administration’s BudgetThe Administration’s first full budget request, released on May 23, would eliminate all USDA rural housing programs except tenant aid, loan guarantees, and grants for home repairs. It would create a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program, comprised of four existing programs – no new infrastructure efforts are provided, at least for areas covered by USDA Rural Development. It does not mention, and does not provide funding for, USDA’s recently proposed reorganization that would eliminate the Under Secretary for Rural Development.

Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) would get $1.345 billion, and Section 542 vouchers would receive $20 million. All RA funds would be used to renew existing contracts. All rural housing direct loan programs would be defunded, as would farmworker housing grants, housing preservation grants, the MPR rental preservation program, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.

A stack of President Trump's FY 2018 Budget Proposal to Congress

Section 502 guarantees for homeownership and Section 538 guarantees for rental housing production would remain at, or slightly above, FY17 levels. Because these programs cover their own costs through fees, the government pays only the costs of administering them.

The Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program would receive $162 million to replace Section 504 grants (Section 504 loans would be eliminated), community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants. There are no guidelines for dividing the funds among those four purposes, so some of these programs could receive no funding at all. Also, almost half – “not more than $80,000,000” – of this pool of funding can be used in Appalachia, while no other regions are mentioned.

Congress will now take over the FY18 appropriations process. House Republican leaders are expected to release their own budget in June. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

0

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

0b

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

0

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405c

1,345d

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

0e

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20f

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

a. Combined into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants pool along with community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants.
b. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated 514/516 funds.
c. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18.
d. Only for renewals of existing RA contracts.
e. Also proposes to rescind $11 million in currently unobligated self-help funds.
f. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated MPR funds.

Moises Loza's Statement on the Trump Administration's "Skinny" Budget

Statement from Moises Loza, Housing Assistance Council (HAC) Executive Director in Response to the Administration’s Budget Proposal:

Moises Loza, HAC's Executive DirectorMoises Loza, HAC’s Executive DirectorI began my career in rural housing in 1973, and over the decades, I’ve been heartened as Republican and Democratic advocates for sensible rural priorities on Capitol Hill have worked together toward a stronger rural America. Such efforts are needed now more than ever.

The proposed budget would upend efforts by hard-working low-income families who put forth sweat equity to construct their own modest homes.  It eliminates clean water and sewer investments which are essential to poor rural and tribal communities. The elimination of HOME and CDBG programs would undermine local efforts to provide decent housing, community facilities, and a foundation for economic development in rural communities. And de-funding national rural capacity building programs sends a stark message to the private sector:  Rural America is not worthy of investment. 

I have and will continue to invite Administration officials to see the firsthand impact of the investments that they propose to eliminate.  I am confident that such interactions with rural America’s most vulnerable and the HAC partners working to meet their needs would convince even the most cynical of the impact of the programs slated for de-funding.

Moreover, the wholesale nature of the proposed cuts and the accompanying austerity would exacerbate the opioid crisis, which is also a housing infrastructure issue. The strains on the rural social fabric are many, and the budget proposal, if enacted, would represent a breaking point for local and county governments in the persistently poor communities where HAC works.

I join my colleagues and HAC’s partners across the country in hoping that members of Congress will see the disproportionately deep impact of the proposed cuts on our rural and tribal communities. 

HAC News: March 16, 2017

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 16, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 6

Administration’s FY18 budget outline released • Trump orders plan for reorganizing executive branch agencies • Indian CDBG funds available • Pilot to increase nonprofit preservation of Section 515 properties took effect March 1 • HUD withdraws comment requests for LGBTQ youth and gender nonconforming people • Congressional committee reviews National Flood Insurance Program • Report makes case for increased federal investments in affordable housing • Research finds large shifts in income for many, and associated financial strain • Upcoming Webinars on the Federal Budget

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 16, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 6

Administration’s FY18 budget outline released. The Trump Administration’s preliminary budget proposal, named America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, summarizes parts of a longer proposal to be issued in May. Final funding decisions will need to be passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The outline does not specifically mention USDA’s Rural Housing Service or rural housing programs. It does, however, propose to reduce USDA’s overall funding by 21% and HUD’s by 13.2%. It would eliminate CDBG, HOME, SHOP, Weatherization Assistance, LIHEAP, CSBG, and most of the CDFI Fund’s monies. Rural water and wastewater loans and grants would be zeroed out, along with Rural Business-Cooperative Service discretionary activities, and USDA Service Centers would see staffing reductions. HUD’s lead hazard control funding would be increased from $110 million to $130 million. VA programs for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families would be supported, as would opioid treatment and prevention. Among the 19 independent agencies slated for elimination are the Corporation for National and Community Service (which runs AmeriCorps), the Legal Services Corporation, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks® America), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, as well as several regional entities: the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Denali Commission, and the Northern Border Regional Commission. Rural areas would also be impacted by termination of federal support for Amtrak’s long distance train services and by the repercussions of numerous Administration policies.Visit HAC’s website for more information and a statement on the budget.

Trump orders plan for reorganizing executive branch agencies. An Executive Order dated March 13 requires agency heads to submit reorganization plans to OMB by mid-September 2017. OMB must publish a Federal Register notice inviting public comment. By mid-March 2018, OMB will compile a proposed plan including, “as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions.”

Indian CDBG funds available. Tribal governments and other tribal organizations can apply by May 18. For more information, contact Frederick J. Griefer, HUD, 202-402-5186.

Pilot to increase nonprofit preservation of Section 515 properties took effect March 1. The pilot, announced in September 2016 (see HAC News, 11/3/16), will run for two years, allowing some incentives to recognize return on investment capital that have not been previously available to nonprofits. For more information, contact a USDA RD State Office.

HUD withdraws comment requests for LGBTQ youth and gender nonconforming people. Saying it will review the need for them, HUD has withdrawn two information collection notices. One is related to analyzing the effectiveness of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative. The other accompanies a new regulation allowing people access to single-sex shelters in accordance with their gender identity (see HAC News, 9/22/16). For more information, contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

Congressional committee reviews National Flood Insurance Program. The House Financial Services Committee’s Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held hearings March 9 and March 14 on updating and reauthorizing the NFIP, which expires September 30.

Report makes case for increased federal investments in affordable housing. A Place to Call Home, published by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, highlights how federal investments in affordable housing and community development have a positive impact on low-income households and the U.S. economy. Some of the success stories in the report are from rural places.

Research finds large shifts in income for many, and associated financial strain. The Pew Charitable Trusts found 34% of U.S. families surveyed had income increases or decreases of at least 25% from 2014 to 2015. While incomes were volatile in all population segments, volatility was higher for some: 38% of families with incomes below $25,000 experienced a gain and 15% a loss, while 20% of Hispanic households, 18% of black households, and 20% of those with a high school diploma or less experienced an income loss. Families with volatile incomes, both gains and losses, reported lower financial well-being and less savings than those with stable income.

Upcoming Webinars on the Federal Budget

March 20, sponsored by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding: Register here to learn more about the budget proposal and how to help address its proposed funding cuts.

March 30, the National Housing Conference’s annual budget forum: Register here for the National Housing Conference’s annual budget forum, a nonpartisan, interactive session.

HAC News: March 2, 2017

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 2, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 5

Trump FY18 budget outline expected March 16 • Senate approves Ben Carson as HUD Secretary • Task forces forming to consider reducing regulations • CDFI funds offered, including for CDFIs serving Native American communities • Comments sought on standards for federal data on race and ethnicity • Research shows severity of affordable housing shortage for lowest-income renters • New data on U.S. farmworkers published • HUD offers Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program • Duty to Serve overview video posted • Webinar, March 6: “How President Trump’s First Budget Could Impact Affordable Housing”

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 2, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 5

Trump FY18 budget outline expected March 16. The Administration wants to keep the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, but change the requirement that cuts in defense and non-defense funding must be proportional. It will request a $54 billion (10%) increase in defense spending. To stay under the cap, the same amount would have to be cut from non-defense funding; that calculation does not take account of tax cuts, deficit reduction, and mandatory spending on programs like Social Security. A more detailed budget proposal will be released in May.

Senate approves Ben Carson as HUD Secretary. The Senate confirmed Carson on March 2 by a 58-41 vote. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing on Sonny Perdue’s nomination to be USDA Secretary.

Task forces forming to consider reducing regulations. In a February 24 Executive Order, President Trump expanded on his January 30 Executive Order requiring elimination of two existing regulations for each new one (see HAC News, 2/2/17). The head of each agency is required to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer and create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and recommend repeal, replacement, or change. Each task force must seek input from stakeholders. Each task force must report to its agency head within 90 days.

CDFI funds offered, including for CDFIs serving Native American communities. The CDFI Program makes Financial Assistance awards (in the form of loans, grants, equity investments, deposits, or credit union shares) to Certified CDFIs and Technical Assistance grants to Certified, Certifiable, and Emerging CDFIs to build their organizational capacity. The Native American CDFI Program offers the same to CDFIs serving Native communities. For each program, the application process has two steps with deadlines of March 24 and April 28. For more information, contact the CDFI Fund Help Desk, 202-653-0421.

Comments sought on standards for federal data on race and ethnicity. OMB requests comments by May 1 on a report drafted by a federal interagency working group suggesting revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The standards are used in the decennial census, other surveys, forms such as mortgage applications, and more. This notice lists specific questions, including whether to add a “Middle Eastern or North African” classification and what sub-categories to use for American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and other major classifications. For more information, contact Jennifer Park, OMB.

Research shows severity of affordable housing shortage for lowest-income renters. The GAP: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, released March 2 by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, reports there are only 35 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households nationwide, and 71% of ELI renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half their income on rent and utilities. ELI renters are those with incomes below 30% of area median or below the poverty level, whichever is higher. The report includes recommendations for better targeting of federal housing expenditures, including reform of the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

New data on U.S. farmworkers published. Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2013-2014: A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farmworkers, recently released by the Department of Labor, covers housing as well as other topics. Thirteen percent of all farmworkers surveyed lived free in employer-provided housing. Among all those who paid for housing, 74% paid less than $600 per month, but the report does not compare rent to income. Those without work authorization were less likely than authorized workers to live in single-family homes, and more likely to live in mobile homes (23% and 15% respectively) or apartments (23% and 11%). Migrant workers lived in crowded dwellings more often than settled workers (40% compared to 29%), and unauthorized workers were twice as likely as authorized workers to be overcrowded (41% and 21%). Nationwide, only 3.3% of homes are overcrowded.

HUD offers Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. The program resolves disputes between manufacturers, retailers, and installers when the parties cannot agree on a solution to a construction and/or safety defect within the first year of the first installation of a manufactured home. HUD’s DRP functions in 24 states; the other 26 have state programs. For more information visit https://www.huddrp.net, email info@huddrp.net, or call 571-882-2928.

Duty to Serve overview video posted. The three-minute video covers the basics of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve program. Data and other tools from the Federal Housing Finance Agency are also available online.

Webinar, March 6: “How President Trump’s First Budget Could Impact Affordable Housing” The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding will hold a webinar on Monday, March 6 at 3-4:00 Eastern time, about the significant threats facing affordable housing and community development programs, including USDA rural housing, and how you can help protect them. At the webinar, CHCDF will also launch a new report and new information tools, including factsheets, sample op-eds, and statewide data on the economic impact of HUD and USDA rural housing investments