June 7, 2018

Community Developments: Senate Appropriations FY 19 THUD Spending Bill

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  • Today the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously advanced their Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill, which would provide $44.5 billion in net discretionary funding for HUD, an increase of $1.8 billion above FY 2018 levels and $900 million above the House FY 2019 THUD bill. The Senate bill would provide: $22.8 billion for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which represents an $800 million increase over FY 2018 and $325 million above the House bill; $2.775 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, an increase of $25 million over FY 2018 and the House bill; and $4.756 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, an increase of $206 million over FY 2018 and the House bill. However, the Senate bill would provide level funding for: the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program at $3.3 billion; the HOME Investment Partnerships Program at $1.362 billion; and the Section 4 Capacity Building Program at $35 million. Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) would receive $11.747 billion, which is level with the House bill and approximately $800 million above FY 2018 levels. For more information on the Senate bill and FY 2019 appropriations, see Enterprise’s blog post.
     
  • Today HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced the first round of ‘EnVision Center’ designations in 17 communities across the nation. EnVision Centers, which will be located on or near public housing developments, will offer HUD-assisted families access to services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency and serve as an incubator to support four key pillars of self-sufficiency: economic empowerment; educational advancement; health and wellness; and character and leadership. According to HUD, after the groundbreaking “each demonstration community receiving the EnVision Center designation will convene with their local stakeholders and resident councils to assist in the selection of services to be offered at the Center,” and HUD will develop tools to track and measure outcomes of EnVision Center participants and services. (HUD, June 7) 
     
  • The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency has recently released two studies, The Impact of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit in North Carolina and The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and Neighborhood Property Values in North Carolina. Those studies show that in North Carolina, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) saves up to $2.96 in health care dollars for every $1 invested over the life of the program, explaining that tenants of targeted units have very low incomes and their health care costs are typically paid by taxpayer dollars. The studies also find that in the state, the Housing Credit has generated $923 million in tax revenue over the years, and created 137,000 jobs overall. It also shows that properties supported by the Housing Credit do not lower surrounding home values. (NCHFA, June 2018) 
     
  • An article in Next City notes that San Francisco voters have approved a ballot measure that guarantees renters the right to an attorney when facing an eviction lawsuit in housing court, which marks the first right-to-counsel law approved by American voters. Last year, nearly 600 tenants were evicted in the city, a 26 percent increase since 2010. The article points out New York and San Francisco are the only cities to have passed laws guaranteeing tenants a right to counsel. However, many others have considered or enacted policies that establish legal-aid funds for low-income renters. (Next City, June 6) 

In Case You Missed It

  • Yesterday a group of House Democrats, through the New Democrat Coalition, released a preliminary report on “America’s Housing Crisis: Missing Millions of Homes.” The report argues that “after years and years of too little construction, we are now short millions of homes,” noting that in order to “accommodate growing population and other sources of new demand, we likely need more than a million additional new units per year.” It also identifies that “the biggest shortfall in housing supply is affordable housing for low-income families,” and notes that funding for critical affordable housing programs has remained stagnant or fallen in recent years. (New Democrat Coalition, June 6) As previously highlighted in Community Developments, Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking his House colleagues to co-sponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). Enterprise encourages all affordable housing stakeholders to share the Dear Colleague letter with your representatives and ask them to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for resources to contact your member of Congress.

 

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