Senate Committee Proposes FY22 Funding Increases for Affordable Housing

The Senate Appropriations Committee released today its Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2022, which provides critical funding for affordable housing programs.

Overall, the bill increases funding for HUD programs in FY22, although at levels lower than those proposed in the House. The Senate bill funds HUD at $65.4 billion, or $5.7 billion above FY21 enacted levels. Unfortunately, the Senate bill does not include the major expansion of rental assistance proposed by both President Biden and the House.

For more details on the FY22 spending bills, see NLIHC’s updated budget chart.

The spending bill likely provides enough funding to renew all existing contracts provided through Housing Choice Vouchers ($27.72 billion) and Project-Based Rental Assistance ($13.97 billion), but it does not include the major expansion of rental assistance proposed by both the House and President Biden. The House bill would expand rental assistance to 125,000 additional households, while President Biden requested expanding the program to serve 200,000 additional households.

The Senate THUD bill provides significant funding increases to the Public Housing Capital Fund at $3.79 billion ($852 million above FY21), Community Development Block Grants at $4.19 billion ($715 million above FY21), and Homeless Assistance Grants at $3.26 billion ($260 million above FY21). Other programs received modest funding increases, including the Public Housing Operating Fund at $5.04 billion ($180 million increase), Tribal housing programs at $1 billion ($175 million increase), the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) at $1.45 billion ($100 million increase), and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly at $956 million ($101 million increase), among others. A few programs were level-funded, including Choice Neighborhoods ($200 million), Housing Counseling ($57 million), Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($227 million), and Policy Development and Research ($105 million).

The THUD Subcommittee has not yet scheduled a vote on the draft spending bill. The House Appropriations Committee already approved its THUD budget for FY22 in July.

Now that the Senate has released its proposal, congressional leaders will work to negotiate final spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year. While this is the first appropriations cycle in a decade in which appropriators are no longer operating under the strict spending caps required by the Budget Control Act, congressional leaders and the Biden administration have yet to reach an agreement on total spending levels for defense and non-defense programs. A continuing resolution (CR) is currently in effect until December 3; at that time, Congress will need to either extend the CR or pass final spending bills to avoid a government shutdown.

Detailed Analysis

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance

The Senate bill proposes increasing funding for tenant-based rental assistance by $1.9 billion above FY21 enacted levels to a total of $27.7 billion, which may be sufficient to ensure all contracts are fully renewed. However, the bill does not include the major expansion of rental assistance proposed by either the House or President Biden. The House bill would expand rental assistance to 125,000 additional households, while President Biden requested expanding the program to serve 200,000 additional households. The Senate bill is $1.5 billion less than the House bill and $2.7 billion less than the amount provided in the president’s budget request.

A total of $75 million is provided for housing mobility services targeted to families with young children.

Project-Based Rental Assistance

The Senate spending proposal would provide $14 billion to renew project-based rental assistance (PBRA) contracts, an increase of $505 million from FY21 funding levels, but $40 million less than the House bill. This amount may be sufficient to renew all existing PBRA contracts.

Homelessness Assistance

The Senate calls for $3.26 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, an increase of $260 million over the FY21 enacted level but $160 million less than the House’s FY22 bill and $240 million less than the president’s request. Still, this funding will complement the $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers enacted in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Of this funding, up to $107 million can be set-aside for additional Youth Homelessness Demonstration Programs (YHDPs).

Rehabilitation and Energy-Efficient Upgrades

As in the House spending bill, the Senate spending bill does not include the president’s request for $800 million in new investments across HUD programs, including public housing and other HUD-assisted housing, for modernization and rehabilitation aimed at energy efficiency and resilience to the impact of climate change, such as increasingly frequent and severe flooding. These efforts can be addressed through the Build Back Better Act, which is currently being negotiated in Congress.

Public Housing

The Senate bill calls for $3.8 billion for the public housing capital needs fund, an increase of $852 million over the FY21 enacted level and $76 million more than what was provided in the House bill. Capital support includes formula-funding, $75 million for emergency capital needs, and $65 million to address lead-based hazards. The Senate bill does not include the $100 million for capital improvements that address climate resiliency or $50 million to address water and energy efficiency included in the House bill.

The bill would also fully cover public housing operating costs by providing $5 billion, more than $180 million above FY21 enacted levels and over $120 million more than the House proposal and president’s request. Operating support includes formula-funding and an additional $25 million based on need.

The Senate bill (Section 236) proposes to increase the maximum number of public housing units eligible for Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion from 455,000 to 500,000.

HOME Investment Partnerships

The Senate bill proposes funding the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) at $1.45 billion, $400 million less than the House proposal and president’s request, but $100 million above FY21 enacted levels.

Community Development Block Grants

The Senate bill provides $4.19 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), an increase of $715 million over FY21 enacted levels but nearly $500 million less than the $4.69 billion provided in the House bill. As in the House bill, the Senate bill does not include the president’s call for some funds to be used to incentivize communities to “fund geographically targeted revitalization activities in communities that have been historically underserved by the federal government.”

Fair Housing

The Senate bill would increase funding by $12.5 million above FY21 enacted levels for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, totaling $85 million for the office. The amount matches levels proposed in the president’s budget and House bill.

Housing for the Elderly (Section 202)

The Senate bill includes $956 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, $101 million above FY21 enacted levels but $77 million less than what was proposed in the House.

Housing for People with Disabilities (Section 811)

The Senate bill would provide $227 million to support affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities. This amount is same amount enacted for FY21, but it is $125 million less than provided in the House bill.

Tribal Housing

The Senate bill would help address housing conditions in Tribal areas by providing $1 billion – compared to $825 million in FY21, and $950 million in the House bill – to fund Tribal housing programs. This amount includes $772 million for formula NAHASDA programs and $150 million for competitive NAHASDA programs.

Healthy Housing

The Senate bill calls for $400 million to reduce lead-based paint and other health hazards. This amount is $40 million more than FY21 levels, but $60 million below the House’s proposal.

Other HUD Programs

The Senate budget proposes $57.5 million for housing counseling, or $42.5 million below the House’s request and level from FY21 enacted levels.

As in the House bill, the Senate bill includes the president’s proposal for a $20 million set-aside for an eviction-prevention legal services program. This funding is housed within the Office of Policy Development and Research.

The Senate bill would provide $200 million for the Choice Neighborhoods grant program, level funding from what the program was provided in FY21.

The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program would also receive $15 million, up from $10 million in FY21.

The Senate also proposes increasing funding for the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program from FY21 at $120 million (but $30 million below the House’s proposal). The Jobs-Plus program would receive $15 million.

Funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program would increase to $450 million, up from $430 million in FY21 but less than the $600 million provided in the House bill.

Other Programs

The bill provides $163 million for NeighborWorks America.

To strengthen the federal coordination of assistance to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, the bill includes $3.8 million for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Disaster Recovery

The Senate bill includes the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act” which would permanently authorize HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. CDBG-DR is the only source for federal long-term disaster housing recovery funding, but the program has lacked permanent authorization since it was first used in 1993. This lack of authorization requires program rules to be rewritten each time CDBG-DR funds are approved. As a result, this sorely needed assistance has been slow to reach disaster-stricken areas. In addition to speeding up this process through permanent authorization, the bill also includes protections to ensure that disaster funding reaches all disaster survivors. The passage of this bill is a significant priority of the NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition.

Take Action

Advocates should continue to contact their senators and representatives to urge them to preserve investments in deeply affordable, accessible homes by providing the highest level of funding possible in both the FY22 spending bill and the infrastructure and economic recovery package. Take action today to support robust increases to affordable housing funding!

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