HFSC Provides Robust Funding for Housing in Reconciliation Bill
On September 14, the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) approved legislation that outlines more than $300 billion in funding for new and existing federal housing programs that will be a part of negotiations on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package currently working its way through Congress.
The legislative package contains many of Enterprise’s top priorities and addresses a wide range of housing issues from homelessness to evictions, funding streams for new construction, rehabilitation/preservation, rental assistance, down payment assistance, green housing, fair housing enforcement, and a range of other important topics.
Enterprise applauds the HFSC for advancing this bill that, if enacted, will not only bring necessary support to Americans struggling with housing stability but also deliver a significant infrastructure investment that can serve as an economic catalyst for communities across the county.
Overview of the Bill
The housing investments contained in the bill are broken into four main categories.
1. “Creating, Preserving, and Greening Affordable Housing”
- $90 billion for rental assistance, including $75 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers and $15 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)
- $80 billion to address the capitol backlog needs of public housing, including $10 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, $66.5 billion for priority investments to be determined by the Secretary, and $2.75 billion for the Choice Neighborhood Initiatives Program
- $37 billion for the Housing Trust Fund
- $35 billion for HOME Investment Partnership Program. The bill includes provisions that waive HOME’s standard commitment deadline, matching requirements, and set-aside for Community Housing Development Organizations.
- $10 billion for the Housing Investment Fund, which will be a special account within the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). This account will provide competitive grants to CDFIs and non-profit developers to build and preserve affordable housing.
- $6 billion for direct loans and grants aimed at improving the energy efficiency, water efficiency, and climate resilience of affordable housing
- $5 billion for USDA’s Section 515 Rural Rental Housing and Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing programs
- $4 billion for properties receiving PBRA, to help preserve and improve safety conditions
- $2.5 billion for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program
- $1 billion for the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities Program
2. “21st Century Sustainable and Equitable Communities”
- $8.5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program, including a $1 billion set aside for housing and infrastructure needs as well as a $500 million set aside for manufactured housing communities
- $7.5 billion for the Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund, which will provide completive grants for local initiatives lead by nonprofits aimed at addressing neighborhood revitalization.
- $4.5 billion for the Unlocking Possibilities Program, designed to provide competitive grants to States, local governments, and Indian Tribes to eliminate exclusionary, restrictive zoning and land uses.
- $3 billion for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA to help to support flood mapping initiatives. This section also forgives $20.5 billion in NFIP debt.
- $250 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program
3. “Homeownership Investments”
- $10 billion for the First-Generation Down-payment Assistance Program
4. “Other Investments”
- $2 billion for HUD to support program administration, training, technical assistance, and capacity building
- $100 million for the HUD Secretary to provide competitive community-led capacity building awards to non-Federal entities
While this is an exciting first step, much is still subject to change in the coming weeks as the Democratic party tries to settle internal deliberations over the reconciliation package. In order for the Democrats to pass this package successfully, they will need to retain all votes within their party in the Senate. This has led some to speculate that ultimately, they might need to lower the topline figure from $3.5 trillion in order to pass the package. For the time being, Democratic leadership has not altered their strategy, with both Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA-12) vowing to move on with the process as scheduled.
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