February 12, 2018

Community Developments: Proposed HUD Budget Cuts, White House Releases Infrastructure Plan

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  • This morning the White House released the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request, which proposes cuts to housing and community development programs as drastic as its FY 2018 request. It proposes slashing funding for HUD 18 percent from current funding levels to $39.2 billion. It also proposes to eliminate funding for Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development (Section 4), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Public Housing Operating Fund. A small bright spot in the request is a proposal to allocate $100 million to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which converts public housing properties to project-based Section 8 contracts that can leverage private capital and financing. The proposal also eliminates the 225,000 unit cap on RAD conversions. However, the $100 million would not address the nationwide public housing capital backlog of $27 billion, and the budget request proposes expanding RAD offset by significantly cutting funding for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and public housing. Last year Congress largely rejected the cuts proposed in the President’s budget request, and Enterprise urges housing and community development advocates to continue defending these programs and ensure that lawmakers understand their value. Learn more about the proposed cuts in an Enterprise blog post. 
     
  • Today the White House released a 55-page proposal for President’s Trump long-awaited infrastructure plan. The proposal lays out a framework for lawmakers to craft legislation for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package that would heavily rely on public-private partnerships and state and local funding. The proposal is structured around four main goals: generating $1.5 trillion for an infrastructure package; streamlining the permitting process down to two years; investing in rural infrastructure projects; and advancing workforce training. According to the proposal, the federal government would contribute $200 billion – raised largely through spending cuts - to the infrastructure package: $100 billion for an incentives program that would encourage increased state, local and private investment, $50 billion for capital investments in rural infrastructure projects, $20 billion for the Transformative Projects Program that would support exploratory project ideas, $20 billion to expand the use of loans and private activity bonds, and $10 billion for a capital financing revolving fund that would finance purchases of federally owned property. (The Hill, February 12) Enterprise urges Congress to include housing in any infrastructure package, given the connections between access to affordable housing, job growth and economic mobility.  
     
  • Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) has released a package of bills that aim to address the rising homelessness challenge in the state of California. One bill would fast-track approvals for any housing development that sets aside 35 percent of the total number of units as supportive housing or provides 15 supportive housing units, whichever is higher. Another bill would require California to create a statewide data base that would track the number of homeless individuals and the type of services they use in order to better identify possible solutions to underlying problems like mental illness and substance abuse. In addition, Chiu and a group of lawmakers from the state urge Governor Jerry Brown to allocate $1 billion to housing and homelessness programs in 2018. (The Sacramento Bee, February 12)

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