On June 6, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill (S. 2438). The bill includes $45.8 billion for HUD programs, $3.2 billion more than was provided for FY 2014. Today’s Direct News item is intended to provide NAHRO members with a comprehensive summary of the Senate bill’s treatment of Community Planning and Development programs, including Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and homeless assistance grants.
NAHRO’s earlier analysis of the Senate bill’s treatment of Section 8 programs and Public Housing programs is available online. Click here for a chart comparing the funding levels in S. 2438 to FY 2014 enacted levels, the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal, the House-passed FY 2015 T-HUD bill, and NAHRO’s FY 2015 funding recommendations, respectively.
Community Development Fund and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
Community Development Block Grants
S. 2438 provides $3.09 billion for the Community Development Fund, with $3.02 billion made available for the CDBG Program. This funding level for CDBG is $220 million above the President’s request, and $10 million below the FY 2014 enacted level. The bill provides $40 million less for CDBG compared to the House-passed T-HUD bill, which cleared the House on June 10. Within the Senate bill is language that, according appropriators, aims to “ensure the program remains flexible, but also accountable and transparent.” The bill retains an existing provision that prohibits any community from “selling” its CDBG award to another community and adopts a new requirement that stipulates that “any funding provided to a for-profit entity for an economic development project funded under this bill undergo appropriate underwriting.” The Senate bill continues language, first proposed by NAHRO, requiring HUD to notify grantees of their formula allocations within 60 days of enactment of the Act. The House-passed bill also retains this provision.
Indian Community Block Grant Program
The Senate bill sets aside $70 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, $10 million above the House level. The Senate also designates $10 million of that funding for mold remediation and prevention in Native American housing, to be awarded through a single national competition.
Section 108 Community Development Loan Guarantee
The Senate bill once again adopts the administration’s request to shift Section 108 to a fee-based program under which HUD would be authorized to collect fees from Section 108 borrowers in amounts that would result in a credit subsidy cost of zero. The bill would also raise the loan guarantee limit to $500 million, an increase strongly supported by NAHRO. The House-passed bill also adopts the administration’s proposal.
The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations act provided $3 million in direct appropriated funding for Section 108 credit subsidy costs, but also authorized HUD to collect fees from borrowers, with the collection fees and funding available to subsidize a total loan principle of no more than $150 million.
HOME Investment Partnerships Program
The Senate bill provides $950 million for the HOME program, $50 million below the FY 2014 enacted level and equal to the President’s request. The Senate amount is also $350 million above the House bill, which slashes the HOME account to $700 million, a figure that would represent by far the lowest funding level in the program’s history. This historically low level of HOME funding in the House bill would be further exacerbated by a $10 million set-aside to fund the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership (SHOP) Program, as proposed by the Administration. The Senate bill rejects the proposed SHOP set-aside and provides $10 million for SHOP through a separate line item.
The Senate bill accepts certain provisions requested in the President’s budget related to the HOME program. One provision allows statewide nonprofits to be designated as Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), so that less populous States will have more organizations to serve the entire State. The bill also includes a provision that creates an exception to the 30-day eviction notice “in instances where a tenant poses a threat,” an exception that is found in other housing assistance programs and a revision to the HOME program long supported by NAHRO and other industry groups.
Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP)
For the Shop Program the Senate provides funding at $50 million, equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Under this account, $10 million is appropriated towards SHOP, while $35 million is provided for the Section 4 Capacity Building program, and $5 million is provided to carry out capacity building activities within rural communities.
Homeless Assistance Grants
The FY 2015 Senate bill includes $2.145 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $40 million above both the FY 2014 enacted level and the level provided under FY 2015 House-passed bill, but short of the President’s budget request of $2.406 billion.
Within this account, the Senate bill makes at least $1.848 billion available for the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, including the renewal of existing projects, $48 million above the amount provide for under the FY 2015 House-passed bill. The Senate bill also makes at least $250 million available for the emergency solutions grants program (ESG), equal to the FY 2014 enacted level and $50 million above the House-passed bill. The Senate bill does not provide funding for new permanent supportive housing, but does stipulate that if funds remain available in this account after fulfilling renewal demands and funding ESG, “HUD may use it for new projects, provided that such projects are targeted to areas with greatest need, as measured by homeless data.” To support the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the Senate bill provides $7 million for data analysis and technical assistance. The Senate-passed bill does not include designated funding for the Rural Housing Stability Assistance program, a new program authorized by the HEARTH Act of 2009 but never implemented by HUD due to lack of funding. The House-passed bill designates $10 million for the rural program.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
The Senate bill provides $330 million for the HOPWA program, $2 million below the both the House bill and the President’s budget, but equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Senate appropriators acknowledge that the HOPWA statute requires an “update to the funding formula to target limited resources to communities most impacted by HIV” and encourages HUD to engage in legislative reauthorization proposal activities.