U.S. House panel moves on FY 2021 spending bill for key housing, community development programs

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Key Takeaways

On July 14, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved by a vote of 30-22 an FY 2021 spending proposal for the U.S. Departments of Transportation (DOT), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and related agencies. The bill outlines spending levels over the next fiscal year for federal programs and services falling under the jurisdiction of these agencies. Unique to this appropriations cycle, the bill includes an additional $75 billion in emergency funding to support recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee’s approval of the spending bill follows passage earlier this year of emergency FY 2020 appropriations as part of the federal response to COVID-19. Those legislative response packages – which included the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139) – increased funding for programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Homeless Assistance Grants to assist states and localities hit hard by the pandemic.

For FY 2021, the legislation would provide $158.3 billion in base budgetary resources for T-HUD programs. This figure includes $75.9 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $1.7 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $78.7 billion for programs outlined under the new U.S. House infrastructure package, the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 2). As drafted, HUD would receive $50.6 billion, a $1.5 billion increase above the FY 2020 level and $13.3 billion above the president’s FY 2021 budget request. Within the $50.6 billion allocated for HUD, the bill boosts or maintain spending for key county priorities, the highlights of which are shown below:

  • The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) would receive $3.5 billion in FY 2021, an increase of $100 million above the prior year, not including emergency funding outlined under the COVID-19 response packages. CDBG is a major priority for counties to pursue community, infrastructure and economic development projects.
  • Funding would be increased for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which receives $1.7 billion under the legislation over the next fiscal year, a $350 million boost above the FY 2020 level. The HOME program helps counties design and implement affordable housing programs for low-income residents.
  • Homeless Assistance Grants would receive $3.4 billion in FY 2021, $638 million above the FY 2020 level, and would support states and localities as we serve residents experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk of becoming homeless.
  • The bill would additionally increase funding for Project-Based Rental Assistance to $13.4 billion, an increase of $881 million compared to FY 2020, and for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, which would receive $25.8 billion in FY 2021, a $1.9 billion increase.
  • Through HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the legislation proposes new federal resources to address homelessness among veterans and included $60 million in FY 2021 for veterans housing programs. The $60 million figure includes $20 million for supportive housing veterans program, known as HUD-VASH), as well as $40 million in new incremental vouchers to address veterans’ homelessness.
  • To support these programs, the bill would provide funding increases to HUD’s Office of Housing, which would receive an additional $1 billion above the FY 2020 level for a total of $14.6 billion in FY 2021. Meanwhile, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development would receive $9.1 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion.

In addition, as part of the $75 billion for COVID-19 recovery activities, the bill provides an additional $49 billion for HUD programs, including:

  • $4 billion for the Community Development Block Grant
  • $17.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program
  • $24.25 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund
  • $750 million for capital improvements to properties receiving project-based rental assistance
  • Additional federal investments in housing for the elderly and individuals with disabilities

For related agencies under the T-HUD bill, the supplemental package would allocate $3.8 million to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, level with the FY 2020 amount.

Finally, the broader legislation includes new policy provisions, including language blocking the administration’s public charge rule as it relates to housing programs. The bill would additionally block the administration’s proposal to weaken housing protections for LGBT individuals.

Timeline for approval of FY 2021 measure unclear as Congress eyes coming deadlines and other legislative business

Following passage in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the bill now goes to the full chamber for consideration, where it is expected to move forward. U.S. House leaders have indicated plans to consider this and the remaining FY 2021 spending bills on a compressed schedule ahead of the August recess. However, the U.S. House-passed bills could see debate in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate. Further complicating the path forward is the September 30, 2020 deadline, after which FY 2020 will expire for federal agencies and programs. Congress could also still move on a fifth COVID-19 relief package in the coming weeks, with unemployment benefits slated to expire on July 31.

NACo will continue to engage with congressional appropriators and key committees of jurisdiction to ensure counties have the resources to support our residents and communities.

For more resources on FY 2020 and FY 2021 appropriations, please see the following links:

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