On June 7, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill on a unanimous vote. The bill includes $44.5 billion in discretionary appropriations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an overall increase of $1.8 billion HUD programs.
The T-HUD appropriations bill sets funding levels for numerous key housing and economic development programs for counties, including:
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): CDBG would receive $3.3 billion, level with FY 2018 funding. NACo strongly supports CDBG, which is used to fund community, infrastructure and economic development programs.
- HOME Investment Partnerships: The HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program would receive $1.36 billion, also level funding when compared to FY 2018. NACo strongly supports the HOME program, which helps counties design and implement affordable housing programs for low-income residents. HOME funds can be used towards the acquisition and rehabilitation of housing or towards tenant-based rental assistance, depending on a county’s housing needs.
- Homeless Assistance Grants: Homeless Assistance Grants are funded at $2.6 billion, close to a $10 million increase above the FY 2018 funding level. The bill also includes provisions to improve HUD’s delivery of housing services to address vulnerable populations, including veterans, youth and survivors of domestic violence.
- HUD-VASH program: The bill funds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program at $40 million, level with FY 2018 funding. The HUD-VASH Program combines rental assistance through HUD with wraparound case management services from the VA to reduce homelessness among our nation’s veterans.
- Housing Choice Vouchers: The bill provides $22 billion for the Housing Choice Vouchers Section 8 program to fully fund housing voucher renewals for FY 2019.
In February, President Trump released his FY 2019 budget request, which outlined the administration’s federal spending priorities for HUD programs, including proposed cuts or funding eliminations. The budget proposal eliminated funding for both CDBG and HOME for FY 2019, similar to the administration’s FY 2018 request. The administration also proposed rent increases and work requirements for certain HUD rental assistance programs for FY 2019. Neither the proposed program eliminations nor rent increases or work requirements for rental assistance programs were included in the House or Senate Appropriations bills.
NACo continues working with both House and Senate appropriators to ensure adequate funding for key housing and economic development programs, and counties are pleased by level and/or increased funding for these programs for FY 2019.