This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve its fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding bill for programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And the highlights are pretty exciting.
First and foremost, we at the Alliance were happy to see that the bill includes a $245 million increase to HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants – the largest one-year increase in nearly 20 years! According to our estimates, the McKinney-Vento funding level of $2.15 billion would fund all renewals and provide $286 million for the new Emergency Solutions Grant program. It’s still about $80 million less than the level proposed by the President, so we hope you’ll work with us to thank your senators but urge them to work throughout the rest of the annual funding process to provide the full increase requested by the President.
The draft legislation also includes funding increases or maintains flat funding for many critical affordable housing programs, including:
- $19.4 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, including $75 million for approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers;
- $9.6 billion to renew all Section 8 project-based contracts for a full 12 months;
- $4.6 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, an increase of $629 million from FY 2012;
- $1 billion for HOME, which represents flat funding from FY 2012; and
- $3.1 billion for the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), an increase of $152 million over FY 2012.
These proposed funding increases will go a long way toward keeping or placing many low-income families and individuals in affordable housing and preventing or ending their homelessness. However, this proposal comes as many communities are seeing an increased demand for homeless assistance resources, even as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is set to expire. Given the tight budgetary constraints facing the Appropriations Committee, we were glad to see that the Committee emphasized the importance of affordable housing and homelessness programs, though additional resources are still needed for many of these key programs.
So, where does this leave us? The truth is that this is just one step in a long process before final legislation is produced and sent to President Obama for his signature – probably after the election. First, the full Senate is likely to vote on this legislation, and the House is expected to release its own proposal later this spring.
These proposed increases are the result of your weeks of hard work; we truly could not have seen such an impact without your efforts. Help us make these proposals a reality! You can still impact the process by making calls and sending letters. For details on how to get involved, email Kate Seif at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our FY 2013 McKinney Campaign Page.