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Rural Setaside Included in Major New HUD Homeless Funding Initiative – UPDATED 9/19/22

Webinar recording and slides posted

A webinar titled Funding Opportunities: Learn More About HUD’s Special NOFO to Address Rural Homelessness and New Stability Housing Voucher Program, cosponsored by HAC, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, was presented on September 15, 2022. The webinar recording and slide presentations are now available online.

Introduction

On June 22, 2022, HUD released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) titled “Continuum of Care Supplemental to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness.” A total of $322 million in recaptured Continuum of Care (CoC) funds is available, comprised of $267.5 million for an “Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside” and $54.5 million for a “Rural Set Aside.”

Any CoC that registered for the FY 2022 CoC program competition may apply under this NOFO. Projects under the Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside may serve any geographic area within the CoC. A CoC whose service area includes places that meet the rural definition (below) may apply for either the Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside or the Rural Set Aside, or both.

Projects that will serve places where CoCs have not previously worked are targeted for special attention within the Rural Set Aside. When HUD scores applications, 10 points out of the total 100 available are specifically for “projects that serve individuals and families in geographic areas that have high levels of homelessness, housing distress, or poverty, and are located where CoC services have until now been entirely unavailable, such as, for example, Trust Lands and Reservations.”

This Competition

CoC applications are due to HUD on October 20, 2022. Each CoC must design its own “collaborative process” to develop its proposal, including a process for project applications. A local organizations or government entity must apply to its area CoC to be included in the CoC’s application to HUD.

This competition is separate from the FY 2022 CoC program competition, which has not yet opened. Applications and awards for this competition will not impact those for the FY 2022 competition.

Eligible Project Applicants

Nonprofit organizations, states, local governments, instrumentalities of state and local governments, Indian Tribes, TDHEs, and PHAs are eligible to apply for project funding under either set aside in this competition. For-profit entities are not eligible to apply or to be subrecipients of grant funds.

Rural Definition

Counties and county equivalents where the Rural Set Aside can be used are listed in the NOFO’s Appendix B.

The rural definition used for this competition was adopted in the HEARTH Act, which provides that a rural area is a county that meets one of three criteria:

  1. It is completely outside of OMB-designated standard metropolitan statistical areas (i.e., it is nonmetropolitan).
  2. It is in an OMB-designated metropolitan statistical area and at least 75% of its population lives in census blocks classified as non-urban.
  3. It is located in a state that has a population density of less than 30 persons per square mile (as reported in the most recent decennial census), and that has at least 1.25% of its total acreage under federal jurisdiction, provided that no metropolitan city in such state is the sole beneficiary of the grant amounts awarded under this NOFO.

Funds Available

The maximum amount that each CoC can request is listed in the NOFO’s Appendix A. These amounts are calculated differently for the two set asides. For the Unsheltered Set Aside, each CoC is eligible for its Preliminary Pro Rata Need (PPRN) for the FY 2022 CoC Program Competition or $60 million, whichever is less. For the Rural Set Aside, the maximum is set at 150% of the combined PPRNs for the FY 2022 CoC Program Competition of all of the CoC’s rural areas.

Grant Terms

Grants under this NOFO will be for three-year terms. Grants for hard costs are not renewable. HUD expects that others will be renewable under regular CoC competitions, though they caution that they cannot guarantee what will happen in the future.

Eligible Activities

The Rural Set Aside can be used to finance more activities than the Unsheltered Set Aside, as summarized in the table below.

 

 

Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Rural Set Aside

 

Eligible activities

 

Permanent housing

Supportive services only

HMIS

Joint transitional housing and permanent housing-rapid re-housing

Planning costs (capped at 3% of maximum award amount)

Unified Funding Agency costs (capped at 3% of maximum award amount)

 

Permanent housing

Supportive services only

HMIS

Joint transitional housing and permanent housing-rapid re-housing

Rent or utilities in some situations

Emergency shelter costs

Repairs to make housing habitable

Capacity building activities (capped at 20% of total funds a CoC requests)

Emergency food and clothing

Costs to use federal inventory property

Staff and overhead directly related to carrying out activities in this list

 

Ineligible activities

 

Acquisition

New construction

Rehabilitation

 

Planning costs

Unified Funding Agency costs

 

Eligible Participants/Definition of “Homeless”

Characteristics of people who will be eligible to participate in projects funded under each set aside in this NOFO – i.e., those who are considered to be “homeless” – are listed in the table below.

 

 

Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Rural Set Aside

 

Eligible participants

 

People who are literally homeless, “except that persons coming from transitional housing must have originally come from places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters, safe havens, or institutions where they resided for 90 days or less and originally came from places not meant for human habitation, safe havens, or emergency shelters”

Domestic violence victims

 

People who are literally homeless

People who are precariously housed

Domestic violence victims

Youth or families considered homeless under other statutes, if CoC obtains HUD approval, limited to certain types of projects, and capped at 10% of award

 

 

Ineligible participants

 

People who are precariously housed

Youth or families considered homeless under other statutes

 

None

 

Plan for Severe Service Needs

Each CoC applying under this NOFO must develop a “Plan for Serving Individuals and Families Experiencing Homelessness with Severe Service Needs.” For both the Unsheltered and Rural Set Asides, large portions of the application and the potential scoring points are based on these plans.

The NOFO defines Severe Service Needs as

any combination of the following factors: facing significant challenges or functional impairments, including any physical, mental, developmental or behavioral health disabilities regardless of the type of disability, which require a significant level of support in order to maintain permanent housing (this factor focuses on the level of support needed and is not based on disability type); high utilization of crisis or emergency services to meet basic needs, including but not limited to emergency rooms, jails, and psychiatric facilities; currently living in an unsheltered situation or having a history of living in an unsheltered situation; experiencing a vulnerability to illness or death; having a risk of continued or repeated homelessness; and having a vulnerability to victimization, including physical assault, trafficking or sex work.

Most of the plans’ components must be provided in applications for either Unsheltered or Rural funds. The outline of plan contents is provided in the table below, along with indications of where the requirements differ for Rural Set Aside applications.

 

 

Plan Component

 

Required for Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Required for Rural Set Aside

a. Leveraging housing resources
1. Development of new units and creation of housing opportunities Y Y
2. Landlord recruitment Y Y
b. Leveraging healthcare resources Y Y
c. CoC’s current strategy to identify, shelter, and house individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness
1. Current street outreach strategy Y Y
2. Current strategy to provide immediate access to low-barrier shelter and temporary housing for individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness Y N
3. Current strategy to provide immediate access to low barrier permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness Y Y
d. Updating the CoC’s strategy to identify, shelter, and house individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness with data and performance Y N
e. Identify and prioritize households experiencing or with histories of unsheltered homelessness Y Y
f. Involving individuals with lived experience of homelessness in decision making Y Y
g. Supporting underserved communities and supporting equitable community development Y Y

A different section of the NOFO contains a paragraph – which also appears in the FY 2021 CoC program NOFO – requiring applicants to identify steps they “will take” to ensure that traditionally marginalized populations (such as racial and ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities) will be able to meaningfully participate in “the planning process.” It is not clear whether, or how, this requirement would apply to the process of developing the severe needs plan, since this plan must be completed in order to be included in the application along with the proposal for steps applicants “will take” in developing future plans.

Application Scoring

For the Unsheltered Set Aside, HUD will select CoCs for awards based on the CoCs’ scores. All projects of the selected CoCs will be funded, up to the funding cap for those CoCs. For the Rural Set Aside, however, HUD will score the individual projects included in each application and select the highest scoring projects, up to the CoC’s maximum funding amount.

HUD will score the rural projects on a 100-point scale. Up to 50 points will correspond to HUD’s score for the CoC’s overall Rural Set Aside application. Up to 40 points will be based on the CoC’s ranking of the project (CoCs are required to rank all project applications for either set aside). Finally, another 10 points may be awarded to “projects that serve individuals and families in geographic areas that have high levels of homelessness, housing distress, or poverty, and are located where CoC services have until now been entirely unavailable, such as, for example, Trust Lands and Reservations.”

HUD may adjust its final project selections to ensure that at least one CoC in each HUD region is funded and that not more than 10 CoCs from a single state are funded.

Links for Additional Information

HUD email address for questions: SpecialCoCNOFO@hud.gov

HUD page where all information and supporting resources for this competition will be posted: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/coc/specialCoCNOFO

HUD Continuum of Care program page: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/coc

HUD page to locate a CoC serving a particular area: https://www.hudexchange.info/grantees/find-a-grantee/

HUD standard funding opportunity page for this NOFO: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/spm/gmomgmt/grantsinfo/fundingopps/fy21coc_urh

Official grants.gov page for this NOFO: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=341301

Site where CoC applications will be entered: https://esnaps.hud.gov/

 

*   *   *

New HUD Rural Homelessness Initiative Announced

On June 22 HUD announced a $365 million Initiative for Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness that will be distributed through Continuums of Care (CoC) and public housing authorities (PHAs) by means of two Notices of Funding Opportunity. The application deadline for CoCs is October 20. HUD is using recaptured CoC and Housing Choice Voucher funding from prior fiscal years to support the initiative.

The initiative includes $322 million in CoC program grants to be distributed by HUD’s Community Planning and Development division:

  • $267.5 million to fund homeless outreach, permanent housing, supportive services, and other costs as part of a comprehensive community approach to solve unsheltered homelessness in 20-40 communities with high incidences of unsheltered homelessness; and
  • $54.5 million targeted to rural communities, prioritizing those with high need but a history of being unable to access CoC grants. HUD is utilizing congressionally granted authority to expand the eligible uses for these funds beyond normal restrictions to enable rural communities to apply for grants to support capacity-building, transportation, and other needs more acutely felt in rural areas.

The division of Public and Indian Housing will distribute $43 million — approximately 4,000 new incremental vouchers — which will be allocated to PHAs with a priority for those that are partners in comprehensive community approaches to solve homelessness.

Policy News town

UPDATED to add USDA comments – HAC Concerned about Buy America Requirements

HAC Comments to USDA, July 2022

On July 29, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which proposed to establish waivers from Buy America requirements for purchases of de minimis, small grants, and minor components of infrastructure projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Housing and community facilities should not be considered public infrastructure under the Build America, Buy America Act.
  • If housing and community facilities are considered public infrastructure, it would be in the public interest to waive the Buy America preference for USDA’s programs to finance these construction projects so that scarce funds and staff resources can be devoted to addressing the current housing crisis.
  • Waivers for purchases of de minimis, small grants, and minor components of infrastructure projects would also be in the public interest.

HAC Comments to HUD, July 2022

HAC expressed concern about the impact of “Buy America” requirements on affordable housing in comments it submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 15, 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • Buy America preferences should not apply to assisted housing. HUD’s priority should be to address the affordable housing crisis. Furthermore, the law defines infrastructure as projects that benefit the general public, while assisted housing is available to only a subset of the general population.
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences to owner-occupied housing because the Office of Management and Budget has specifically stated that private homes are not considered to be infrastructure.
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences when HUD assistance is used for infrastructure that is built solely to support affordable housing, as is the case with the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP).
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences to housing that receives less than $250,000 in federal funding, to developments with fewer than eight units, or to situations when HUD funding covers only a small portion of the per unit development cost.
  • HUD should issue expedited waivers for materials that experience price spikes.
  • HUD should provide guidance to help reduce administrative burdens on entities that receive HUD funding.

Build America, Buy America

HUD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal agencies are subject to a “Build America, Buy America” (BABA) requirement in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which mandates that iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects be American made. The provision applies to most federally funded infrastructure projects; it is not limited to projects funded through the 2021 Act.

Any preferences for American-made products that were in effect before the Infrastructure Act passed remain in place.

Federal agencies were required to publish initial lists showing which of their programs could be subject to the Buy America preference. The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance for federal agencies regarding compliance and set up a website to track agency requests for waivers.

HUD Implementation

On June 1, HUD requested public comment to help implement BABA for its programs. It asked questions such as what HUD-financed projects might fall under exemptions from the preference, how materials are currently sourced, and more. It also asked what HUD programs might be considered to fund infrastructure in addition to those on its initial list, which includes HOME, the Community Development Block Grant program, and SHOP.

The deadline for comments was later extended to July 15.

HUD has moved to waive the buy America requirement while the department works on implementing it. HUD announced it was providing two waivers, both effective on May 14 (the statutory deadline for implementation) unless it issued a later announcement changing the date. HUD’s general waiver is effective for six months. Its waiver for Tribal recipients of HUD funds lasts for one year.

USDA Implementation

USDA did not include any of its Rural Development agency’s housing or community facilities programs on its initial list of infrastructure programs, which focuses instead on utilities and broadband programs. In a recent request to OMB, however, RD did include housing and CF along with others on a list of programs it intends to evaluate under the new law.

USDA Rural Development, like HUD, hopes to delay the requirements’ effectiveness temporarily. It asked OMB to approve a waiver that would last six months after the date of approval.

Treasury Implementation

The Treasury Department’s list of programs that may be subject to BABA’s requirements does not include any Community Development Financial Institution Fund programs. It does include the Homeowner Assistance Fund, a program intended to help homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds programs, which help state, local, and Tribal governments and can be used for housing.

 

Policy News from Congress

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

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.

 

Advocates at homelessness march

Housing Assistance Council Statement on Proposed $54.5 Million Set Aside for Homelessness in Rural Communities

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds the new funding package announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 22, 2022 to provide people experiencing homelessness in the nation’s cities and rural communities with the support they need. In total, HUD’s initiative includes $322 million targeted to addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness. Of this, $54.5 million is set aside for rural communities to help connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to housing, healthcare and supportive services.

“This is a remarkable investment in terms of its size, targeting and design,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “HUD recognizes that homelessness looks different in rural places than in large cities, and is customizing this initiative to address the unique capacity challenges that rural Continuums of Care face.” In particular, rural communities can apply for capacity-building support—which is not an eligible activity under the annual Continuum of Care competition or the unsheltered homelessness set aside. Funds can also support home repairs, outreach, supportive services and more. By specifically targeting rural communities that have historically not had access to HUD homeless assistance grants, this special funding announcement goes a long way toward ensuring an equitable approach for underserved communities.

HUD’s announcement reflects HAC’s longstanding efforts to educate policymakers on the unique needs of rural communities seeking to address homelessness. “HAC played an essential role informing the drafting and early implementation of the HEARTH Act of 2009, which overhauled HUD’s homeless assistance programs for the first time in two decades,” said Jonathan Harwitz, HAC’s Director of Public Policy, who worked on the HEARTH Act as a Congressional staffer and at HUD. “It is gratifying that HUD’s special funding announcement today reflects HAC’s feedback on HEARTH Act implementation over the past decade.”

Policy News from Congress

Over 300 Organizations Express Support for SHOP and RCB Programs

With the help of our network of organizations working across the country in rural areas, more than 300 organizations signed on to support increased funding for SHOP and the Rural Capacity Building (RCB) programs at HUD. HAC has helped almost 10,000 rural families achieve homeownership using the SHOP program, and has provided thousands of hours of customized technical assistance to more than 750 local organizations using the RCB program. Check out the letter below to learn more. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, Community Frameworks, and Tierra del Sol for their partnership on this effort!

FY23 SHOP and RCB Organizational Sign-on Letter
Policy News from Congress

HUD Programs Slated for Funding Increases

Information on FY22 USDA funding

UPDATE March 11, 2022 – Both the House and Senate have passed the omnibus bill and President Biden will sign it into law, avoiding a government shutdown and funding federal programs through fiscal year 2022, which ends on September 30, 2022.

March 9, 2022 – Many HUD programs will receive more funding in fiscal year 2022 than in 2021 under the provisions of the omnibus appropriations bill released overnight. Generally, however, the final figures fall below the highest increases proposed by the Biden administration, the House, or the Senate.

The SHOP program was increased from $10 million in FY21 to $12.5 million – the first increase in the program since FY15. The spending agreement also encourages HUD to consider increasing the per-unit cap for the combined cost of land acquisition and infrastructure improvements under the SHOP program, which is currently $15,000 per unit.

The bill includes funds for 25,000 new rental vouchers, a step towards the 300,000 new vouchers that would have been provided by the Build Back Better Act.

The substantial increase in CDBG funding 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”).

The continuing resolution that currently funds the federal government ends at midnight on March 11. The House is expected to pass the omnibus bill on March 9. Another continuing resolution, lasting just a few days, may be needed to give the Senate enough time to act.

 

HUD Program

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. FY22 Admin. Budget FY22 House Bill FY22 Senate Bill FY22 Final
CDBG $3,425 $3,475 $3,770 $4,688 $4,190 $4,841
HOME 1,350 1,350 1,850 1,850 1,450 1,500
Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP) 10 10 10 15 15 12.5
Veterans Home Rehab 4 4 4 4 4
Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce. 23,874 25,778 30,442 29,216 27,719 27,370
    VASH setaside 40 40 20 50 50
    Tribal VASH 1 5 5 5 5 5
Project-Based Rental Asstnce. 12,570 13,465 14,060 14,010 13,970 13,940
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 2,870 2,942 3,678 3,718 3,794 3,388
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 4,549 4,864 4,917 4,922 5,044 5,064
Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative 175 200 250 400 200 350
Native Amer. Hsg. 825 825 1,000 950 1,000 1,002
Homeless Assistance Grants 2,777 3,000 3,500 3,420 3,260 3,213
Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS 410 430 450 600 450 450
202 Hsg. for Elderly 793 855 928 1,033 956 1,033
811 Hsg. for Disabled 202 227 272 352 227 352
Fair Housing 70.3 72.6 85 85 85 85
Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl. 290 360 400 460 400 415
Housing Counseling 53 57.5 85.9 100 57.5 57.5

October 20, 2021 – The Senate Appropriations Committee has released nine proposed appropriations bills, including the Transportation-HUD bill, for the fiscal year that began on October 1. The committee would increase many programs above their FY21 funding levels, though generally it would not raise them to the figures proposed in the House bill. The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) is an exception, set in both the House and Senate bills at $15 million rather than the $10 million it received in FY21. Native American housing would also receive more under the Senate bill than from the House. Details are provided in the table below.

Federal programs are currently funded through a continuing resolution that keeps them at FY21 levels. It will expire on December 3, 2021.

 

July 29, 2021 – The full House passed H.R. 4502, a “minibus” containing several FY22 appropriations bills, including the bills for both HUD and USDA.

 

July 16, 2021 – The House Appropriations Committee has approved the Transportation-HUD funding bill. It is expected to be considered by the full House as part of a “minibus” package of several FY22 appropriations bills, which will also include the Agriculture bill.

 

July, 2021 – On July 16, 2021 the House Appropriations Committee will consider a fiscal year 2022 funding bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The bill was approved on July 12 by the T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.

The House bill would set funding levels for many HUD programs at or above the amounts requested in the President’s budget and would provide substantial increases above FY21 levels for almost all programs. Details are provided in the table below.

 

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.

 

Shawn Poynter/ There is More Work to be Done

UPDATE – 120 organizations sign on to Support rural housing and capacity building in the Build Back Better Act

Thank you! With your help 120 organizations signed on Congressional leadership yesterday in support of the robust rural housing and rural capacity building investments in the House bills for the Build Back Better Act. Nearly 120 organizations from across the country signed on to support these important investments.

Read the Letter

HAC Rural Housing Reconciliation Sign-On

 

Congress is currently working to negotiate the Build Back Better Act. Rural housing and capacity building programs are currently included in the bill and we want to make sure they continue to be top priorities. HAC is circulating a sign-on letter to Congressional leadership in support of maintaining rural housing and capacity building investments in the Build Back Better Act. You can view the text of the letter below. As a valued friend of HAC, we hope that you will add your organization’s name to this effort.

If you have any questions, please reach out to HAC’s Government Relations Manager, Samantha Booth, at samantha@ruralhome.org. The deadline to sign on is Tuesday, October 12. We appreciate your help.

 

SHOP Application Reference Material

Application Materials

The following links are provided to assist you in completing a 2021 Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) application. These links provide additional information on program and eligibility requirements.

  1. FY 2021 SHOP NOFO
  2. Eligibility Requirements for Applicaitons of HUD’s Grant Programs
  3. General Administrative Requirements and Terms for HUD’s Financial Assistance Awards
  4. Federal Register Notice