Policy News from Congress

Updated Sept. 14 – Rural Rental Housing and Repairs for Homeowners Included in Draft Bill

UPDATE September 14, 2021 – More rural housing funding has been added to the House Financial Services Committee’s portion of the reconciliation package. It now includes:

  • $4.36 billion for new construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of Section 515 rental housing and Section 514/516 farmworker housing;
  • $200 million for Section 521 Rental Assistance;
  • $70 million in budget authority for Section 502 direct homeownership loans (estimated to support loans totaling about $3.7 billion);
  • $95 million for Section 504 repair grants; and
  • $25 million for Section 523 self-help.

The bill sets no time limits for spending most of these funds, although the Rental Assistance money would expire on September 30, 2024.

Funding for HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) was also added when the draft was revised. An additional $50 million would be available for SHOP over 10 years. As noted below, the bill provides substantial new funding for numerous HUD programs.

The Financial Services Committee began its consideration of the bill on September 13 and is continuing on September 14. The markup session will also consider a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which would establish a new annual 5 percent setaside for tribes under USDA’s Section 502, 504, 515, 533, and 538 programs, as well as the Rural Utilities Service programs.

The Financial Service Committee’s portion of the reconciliation bill will be combined with pieces from other committees to create the full $3.5 trillion package. The House is expected to approve it. Then it will be considered in the Senate, where it needs only a majority vote to pass, but it is not yet clear whether enough Senators will vote for it.

 

September 9, 2021 – Congress’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package includes $5 billion for USDA’s rural rental housing programs and $100 million for repairs to rural owner-occupied homes. The House Financial Services Committee released legislative text on September 9, providing details that were not previously available.

The $5 billion rural rental total would be used for new construction of Section 515 rental housing and 514/516 farmworker housing, and for preserving existing properties through the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program.

USDA’s Section 504 grant program, which covers the costs of health and safety repairs to owner-occupied homes in rural areas, would receive $100 million. These grants are usually available only to homeowners age 62 or older, but that age restriction would be waived for this pool of funds. The requirement that homeowners have very low incomes would remain in place.

The bill would also provide significant funding for numerous HUD programs including $35 billion for HOME and $8.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants. The colonias on the U.S.-Mexico border would receive a $1 billion setaside of CDBG funds.

The  Financial Services Committee will mark up this bill on September 13. (At the same session the committee will also consider two other bills, one to assist renters in the wake of the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the federal eviction moratorium, and one to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.)

All funds appropriated through the reconciliation bill would be in addition to the usual annual funding for these programs. Congress has not completed work on USDA’s or HUD’s annual appropriations for fiscal year 2022, which begins on October 1, 2021. The year is likely to begin with a continuing resolution holding programs at their FY21 levels.

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – August

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of August, USDA obligated 127,867 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $22 billion. This is $417 million above obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 134,422 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $21.6 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated $20.9 billion (117,579 loan guarantees) up from this time last year’s nearly $20.3 billion (121,671 loan guarantees).

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $935 million (5,004 loans), a bit less than last year’s obligation level of $990 million (5,738 loans.) About 37 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented nearly 44 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,961 loans representing $12.4 million. Loan volume was below this time last year (2,376 loans representing $14.4 million.) There were also about $21 million (3,189 grants) obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to $27.7 million (4,248 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 36 grants and contracts totaling over $24.9 million compared to last year’s 35 grants and contracts totaling $29.3 million.

Multi-Family Housing Program Highlights

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 64 loan guarantees totaling $153.8 million compared to last year’s 136 loan guarantees ($216.9 million.) One Section 515 Rural Rental Housing loan has been funded so far this year compared to 29 loans representing $31.7 million last year. In the MPR program, no loans or grants have been obligated so far this year. Last year, there were 38 loans and 5 grants obligated representing $44 million and $251,778 respectively last year.

Two Farm Labor Housing loans totaling $3.1 million, and no grants have been obligated so far this year. Last year at this time, 14 loans and 6 grants were obligated ($19.8 million and $6.2 million, respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 197,018 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling over $1.1 billion. This compares to about 186,940 units (almost $1.1 billion) obligated same time last year. There were also 6,671 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $32 million compared to 6,693 vouchers representing $30.9 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from Congress

Senate Proposes Some Increases for USDA Housing

August 5, 2021 – The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY22 USDA funding bill on August 4. While the House bill proposes a substantial increase in funding for the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program, the Senate bill would increase Section 515 funding rather than MPR. The Senate bill suggests increases in some other programs, but most of its figures are lower than the House’s.

The Senate bill would retain a provision in FY21 appropriations law, dropped by the administration’s budget and the House, that allows rental property owners to request 20-year terms for Rental Assistance contracts, subject to annual appropriations. The Senate and House would both keep provisions calling for incentives to nonprofits to preserve rental housing, reuse of recaptured Rental Assistance (RA), and use of recaptured RA from farmworker housing in other farmworker housing when possible, although those were left out of the administration’s budget request.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY22 Admin. Budget FY22 House Bill FY22 Senate Bill
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6a $1,500 $1,500 $1,250
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28 28 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30 40 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40 40 92
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10 15 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450 1,450 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32 32 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15 25 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230 230 250
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32 60 32
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45 45 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0 2 2
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6 6 6

a. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.

 

July 27, 2021 – The House passed H.R. 4502, a “minibus” package of seven appropriations bills, including USDA’s (see table below) and HUD’s.

July 1, 2021 – The full House Appropriations Committee approved its FY22 USDA funding bill on June 30, including increases in some rural housing programs as described below. The bill will be considered later this summer by the full House. The Senate has not yet released a proposal.

The House committee also released its report on the bill, providing additional information and directives from the committee, including a paragraph about farmworker housing.

Farm Labor Housing.—The Committee encourages USDA to explore opportunities to leverage its resources including its Food and Nutrition Programs, Community Facilities Programs, Housing Preservation Grants, and other programs, and to create partnerships with the Department of Labor’s Farmworker Housing outreach and technical assistance program, Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Program, and the Administration for Children and Families Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program, to coordinate and align resources to address the housing, nutrition and healthcare needs of this vulnerable population of essential workers who play a critical role in America’s food security. The Committee further encourages USDA to explore including service coordinators as an allowable expenditure for farm labor housing projects.

June 24, 2021 – As congressional action begins for fiscal year 2022 federal funding, the House Appropriations Committee has released a bill proposing increases in several of USDA’s rural housing programs.

Like the administration’s budget, the House bill would raise funding for Section 502 direct and guaranteed mortgage loans, Rental Assistance, and self-help housing. While the budget would increase the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program to $32 million from $28 million in FY21, the House bill would provide a far larger boost, to $65 million. The House would also grow the Section 504 grant program for elderly low-income homeowners and the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants program.

The House bill retains several provisions that are in current appropriations law but were dropped in the administration’s budget. These call for incentives to nonprofits to preserve rental housing, reuse of recaptured Rental Assistance (RA), and use of recaptured RA from farmworker housing in other farmworker housing when possible. Like the budget, however, it eliminates a provision from the FY20 and FY21 appropriations laws that allowed property owners to request RA contracts with 20-year terms.

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will review the draft bill at a mark-up on June 25, 2021. The full House Appropriations Committee will consider it on June 30. The Senate has not yet begun its appropriations process.

 

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY22 Admin. Budget FY22 House Bill
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6a $1,500 $1,500
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30 c
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28 b
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10 b
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15 c
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32 60
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0 2
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6 6

a. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.

b. The House bill provides a total of $17.8 million in budget authority for the Section 514 and 516 farm labor housing programs. When the Appropriations Committee prepares a report on the bill, that document will state the program amounts.

c. The House bill provides a total of $65 million for Section 504 grants and Section 533 grants. When the Appropriations Committee prepares a report on the bill, that document will show how the total is to be divided between the two programs.

 

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – July

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of July, USDA obligated 117,200 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $20.2 billion. This is nearly $3.9 billion more than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 103,122 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling nearly $16.4 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated approximately $19.2 billion (108,193 loan guarantees) up from last year’s $15.3 billion ( 93,226 loan guarantees) this time.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $826.7 million (4,409 loans), a bit higher than last year’s obligation level of $742.2 million (4,310 loans.)

About 36 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 42 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,700 loans representing almost $10.6 million. Loan volume was up from this time last year (1,912 loans representing about $11.6 million.) There were also about $18.3 million (2,784 grants) obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to approximately $22.4 million (3,474 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 30 grants and contracts totaling nearly $20.4 million compared to last year’s 19 grants and contracts totaling over $22.6 million.

Multi-Family Housing Program Highlights

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 58 loan guarantees totaling almost $149.0 million compared to last year’s 96 loan guarantees ($156.7 million.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. No loans or 5 grants have been obligated so far this year in the MPR program totaling $0 and $251,778 this year compared to 28 loans and 3 grants representing nearly $30.0 million and $988,734, respectively last year.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 14 loans and 5 grants were obligated (about $19.8 million 794,577 and nearly $5.9 million, respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 195,414 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling over $1.1 billion. This compares to about 178,225 units (over $1.0 billion) obligated same time last year. There were also 6,228 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling about $30.0 million compared to 5,700 vouchers representing over $26.4 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from the Administration

HAC Supports USDA’s Interest in Racial Justice, Equity, and Underserved Communities

Federal policy and programs benefit some areas of the United States while harming others. HAC was pleased to see the Administration’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, published on President Biden’s first day in office. In Section 2 of that Order, we were glad to see “persons who live in rural areas” included in the list of groups who need to be granted “consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment.” Further, we were glad to see “geographic communities” a category that should be considered when determining an “underserved community.”

On this basis, HAC supports USDA’s efforts to advance justice and equity for communities underserved by USDA itself and by others. HAC’s comments submitted in response to USDA’s request for information on Identifying Barriers in USDA Programs and Services; Advancing Racial Justice and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at USDA address actions that are necessary in several areas. Building capacity, improving access to capital, increasing flexibility, and engaging with stakeholders are among the subjects addressed in HAC’s comments.

In a similar vein, HAC also recently commented on an administration request for input on equity across all federal agencies.

Stats of USDA Rural Housing Obligations as of the End of April FY 2021

HAC’s Presentation of USDA Housing Activity Data Explained

Since 1996, HAC has produced a report on the housing activity (monthly loan and grant obligations) of the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA). So, what is HAC’s presentation of USDA obligations? And why have we been making it for the last three decades?

In short, HAC’s report tracks how much of each program’s allocation USDA Rural Development is actually using. These “obligations” are funds which have been committed to specific purposes within a program1.

By tracking these obligations, HAC provides a picture of which USDA programs are being used to their fullest. HAC also tracks which states the funds are being obligated in, letting us see where the money is going. These reports help on-the-ground partners keep track of resources USDA is investing in their states.

HAC’s obligation report is the only one of its kind. We tabulate, format, and publish the information as a service to our partners, peers, and everyone interested in how USDA’s rural development programs are coming along. Every month, we calculate the total obligations made year to date through that month. At the end of each fiscal year, HAC also produces a detailed report for the entire year, including charts, maps, income levels of program recipients, and historical trends.

In the last seven decades, USDA Rural Development has invested over $300 billion in communities around the country. Understanding how these funds are used and which communities receive them is vital to being able to leverage those programs to their fullest effect.

For more information about HAC’s USDA data and reports please visit our web page for USDA data:  USDA Information and Data – Housing Assistance Council (ruralhome.org)

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – June

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of June, USDA obligated 106,072 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $18.3 billion. This is $1.9 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 103,122 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling nearly $16.4 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated almost $17.4 billion (98,173 loan guarantees) up from over $15.3 billion (93,226 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled over $712.2 million (3,822 loans), a bit less than last year’s obligation level of $742.2 million (4,310 loans.) About 36 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented nearly 43 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,511 loans representing $9.4 million. Loan volume was down from this time last year (1,912 loans representing $11.6 million.) There were 2,458 grants totaling about $16.1 million obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to $22.4 million (3,474 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 28 grants and contracts totaling $16.9 million, up from last year’s 19 grants and contracts but less than the total of $22.6 million.

Multi-Family Housing Program Highlights

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 56 loan guarantees totaling about $145.3 million compared to last year’s 96 loan guarantees. No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. There have been no loans or grants obligated in the MPR program so far this year compared to 28 loans and 3 grants representing $29.9 million and nearly $990 thousand, respectively last year.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 14 loans and 5 grants were obligated (about $19.8 million and $5.9 million, respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 171,799 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling over $998.4 million. This compares to about 178,225 units (over $1 billion) obligated same time last year. There were also 5,732 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $27.7 million  compared to 5,700 vouchers representing $26.4 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

How HAC’s Loan Application Packaging Training Supports Homeownership

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – May

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of May, USDA obligated 94,334 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $16.2 billion, nearly $2.4 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 88,196 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $13.9 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated nearly $15.5 billion (87,519 loan guarantees) up from almost $13.0 (79,509 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $605 million (3,281 loans), a bit less than last year’s obligation level of $629 million (3,681 loans.) Nearly 37 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 43 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,316 loans representing about $8 million. Loan volume was down from this time last year (1,722 loans representing $10.4 million.) About $13.7 million (2,119 grants) was obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to over $20 million (3,105 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 27 grants and contracts totaling $16.9 million, a bit less than last year’s 14 grants and contracts totaling over $20.5 million.

Multi-Family Housing Program Highlights

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 51 loan guarantees totaling $135.7 million compared to last year’s 92 loan guarantees ($145.6 million.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing loans and no MPR loans or grants have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 13 loans and 5 grants were obligated ($19.7 million and $5.9 million, respectively.)

In the Section 521 Rental Assistance program, USDA obligated funds for 125,076 rental assistance units the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling nearly $740.0 million. This compares to about 135,675 units ($783.0 million) obligated same time last year. There were also 5,007 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $24.3 million compared to 5,368 vouchers representing $25.0 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from the Administration

Biden’s USDA Housing Budget Proposes Increases in Section 502 Mortgages and Rental Preservation

The Biden administration’s first full budget request, covering the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2021, would maintain this year’s spending levels on rural housing programs and make available more loans for rural homebuyers. The Section 502 direct loan program, though which USDA makes loans directly to first-time purchasers, would be raised from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The Section 502 guarantee program, which guarantees mortgages made by banks, would increase from $24 billion to $30 billion.

Fiscal year 2022 funding for most rural housing programs would remain at the same levels as in fiscal year 2021, with modest increases for self-help housing, rental assistance, and rental vouchers. The budget also indicates that the American Jobs Plan – the administration’s infrastructure proposal – would provide an additional $2 billion in rural housing spending. It does not give any details about how that money would be used.

The budget proposes to eliminate some protections for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA). It would delete a requirement that recaptured RA be reused for rehab, preservation, or RA, and it would eliminate longstanding provisions requiring a 12-month delay before recapturing unused RA from Section 514/516 farmworker housing and mandating that farmworker housing RA be reused in other farmworker housing if possible. Language that allows recaptured RA to be used for “current needs” would be left in place.

Also deleted would be a provision from FY20 and FY21 appropriations that allows owners to request RA renewals for 20-year periods, subject to annual appropriations, which fund RA contracts for one year at a time.

The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, the Section 542 voucher program, and both farmworker housing programs would be shifted to new places in the budgetary scheme, an administrative move that would not alter the functioning of any of these programs.

The administration’s budget is the first step in the annual appropriations process. Each house of Congress will now craft its own proposal and differences will be worked out in the months to come.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY 22 Admin. Budget
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6 $1,500
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6

a The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.