On March 25, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed its FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill after debate on several housing- and transportation-related amendments, though only a manager’s amendment making technical changes to the bill was ultimately approved. The House bill received a robust $48.2 billion allocation, which is $1.7 billion higher than the Senate allocation, but due to differences in accounting tactics, the Senate bill provides higher funding levels for most housing and community and development programs compared to the House bill. The Senate approved its T-HUD bill on March 19 with an 89-8 vote.
NAHRO’s policy team has provided a comprehensive summary of the House bill as it relates to HUD’s Community Planning and Development programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Homeless Assistance Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). NAHRO will also publish comprehensive coverage of the House bill’s treatment of Public Housing and Section 8 Programs in the coming days.
Access NAHRO’s analysis here (members only).
The appropriations process is in full swing in Congress. Last week, the Senate passed its FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill. Despite a devastating initial cut to the overall spending level for T-HUD, Senate appropriators drafted a responsible bill while still adhering to the overall spending cap set in November. Funding levels for housing and community development programs are better than anticipated, and NAHRO thanks its members for their strong support of the bill.
NAHRO remains committed to working with HUD to make sure that our membership’s concerns are heard and that the upcoming AFH tools take into account the views of HUD’s stakeholders.
Some Senators tried to introduce controversial amendments that threatened to derail the progress of the bill. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) tried to introduce an amendment to defund enforcement of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. This amendment was never voted on. Instead, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)–the chairperson of the Senate T-HUD Subcommittee–with support from Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the Ranking Member, successfully passed a motion to table the amendment. NAHRO remains committed to working with HUD to make sure that our membership’s concerns are heard and that the upcoming AFH tools take into account the views of HUD’s stakeholders.
Additionally, the critical bipartisan HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) amendment introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was adopted en-bloc as a part of the manager’s package. This amendment would allow communities with HOME funds that are set to expire in FYs 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 under the program’s 24-month commitment deadline to maintain access to those funds. NAHRO supported approval of this amendment since the statutory 24-month commitment deadline is an unnecessary and burdensome requirement that has caused communities across to nation to lose $71.8 million in funding for affordable housing. Additional information on the Senate bill amendments can be found on NAHRO’s website.
As debate on the bill progress, additional amendments may be introduced to the bill that may require advocacy action.
On May 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2017 T-HUD spending bill. The bill will be considered by the full House in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, the House bill would provide smaller spending levels than those found in the Senate bill, with most funding level to FY 2016. As debate on the bill progresses, additional amendments may be introduced to the bill that may require advocacy action.
HUD releases study evaluating the Rapid Re-Housing Demonstration Program
This month, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) published its evaluation of the 23 CoCs that were awarded funding in 2009 to implement rapid re-housing (RRH) demonstration programs in order to address family homelessness. The evaluation asked two basic research questions: what do rapid re-housing programs established under the demonstration look like, and what happens to households after they have received rapid re-housing.
Families had a low likelihood of returning to emergency shelters within 12 months of the conclusion of RRH assistance, and only 10 percent of households served experienced homelessness within the study period.
The report found that rapid re-housing worked best when grantees could create rapid rehousing programs that reflected the local context, including the availability and focus of existing homeless prevention and assistance programs, local housing costs, and other homeless system goals and strategies. Families had a low likelihood of returning to emergency shelters within 12 months of the conclusion of RRH assistance, and only 10 percent of households served experienced homelessness within the study period. However, the study also found a high rate of mobility for participating families, 76 percent of households moved at least once within the 12-month period following their exit from the demonstration.
The report can be found here: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/rapid-rehousing-program.html.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Introduces “Moving to Work Reform and Expansion Act of 2016” (H.R. 5137)
On April 29, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) introduced the “Moving to Work Reform and Expansion Act of 2016” (H.R. 5137). The bill would make the Moving to Work (MtW) program permanent and would remove the cap for the number of non-troubled agencies allowed to apply. NAHRO has long supported an expansion of the MtW program and is pleased to see Majority Leader McCarthy’s effort in pushing the bill forward.
PHAs that participate in the current MTW demonstration enjoy broad funding flexibility and may experiment with alternative program structures to better serve their communities, and there are many non-MTW agencies looking to enter into the program. Applications under McCarthy’s bill would focus on innovative “proposals” designed to reduce cost-efficiency and innovative “manners” to assist families, annual agency goals, and metrics to assess the agency’s progress toward these goals. HUD would have to accept no less than 25 new agencies per year. The bill also would require PHAs to provide annual reports and annual budget plans to HUD.
It is critical that any MtW expansion does not diminish the existing local discretion built into the MtW demonstration that allows PHAs to meet the core goals of the program.
It is critical that any MtW expansion does not diminish the existing local discretion built into the MtW demonstration that allows PHAs to meet the core goals of the program. Any expansion must also minimize additional burdensome reporting requirements that run counter to the flexibility inherent in MtW. This flexibility is what allows PHAs to reduce costs and improve operations, governance, and financial management. It is also what makes the MtW program so successful.
Text of H.R. 5137 can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5137.
NAHRO’s most recent update on the MtW program can be found here (members only): http://www.nahro.org/node/403/year/2016/month/5/date/0#11557.