The following post is meant to offer a few thoughts on the treatment of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program in the FY 2018 President’s proposed budget. For a deeper analysis, please read NAHRO’s article, “FY 2018 President’s Budget Request: Section 8 Programs” (NAHRO members only). The proposed budget has the potential to affect the HCV Program in two important ways: by cutting funding and by making many policy changes.
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Selected Housing Choice Voucher Program Accounts
|Program (millions)||FY 2017||FY 2018 President’s Proposed Budget||Change between Proposed FY 2018 and FY 2017|
|HCV HAP Renewals||$18,355||$17,584||-$771|
|Ongoing Administrative Fees||$1,640||$1,540||-$100|
|Additional Administrative Fees||$10||$10||0|
The chart above shows selected accounts for the HCV Program in the FY 2018 President’s proposed budget. While these cuts do not look too bad compared to cuts in other programs (e.g., the CDBG and HOME programs are zeroed out and the Public Housing Capital Fund received an approximately 67 percent cut), they are still substantial when compared to previous funding levels for these accounts. Within recent memory, HAP renewals have been fully-funded or nearly fully funded every year (with the exception of FY 2013’s sequestration-related cut and FY 2017). Additionally, continually cutting the administrative fee account will adversely impact HCV program administration. In a budget with many devastating cuts, it is important not to overlook cuts to these accounts too, which will harm many households.
Voucher Policy Provisions
The FY 2018 President’s proposed budget has many provisions that have the potential to alter HCV Program administration–if they’re incorporated into enacted legislation, which this proposed budget is not. Here’s a quick look at some of them.
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Flexibilities – this provision allows HUD “to waive, or specify alternative requirements for, [HCV] statutory or regulatory provisions” related to the following: setting and adjusting allowable rent levels; payment standards; tenant rent contributions; occupancy standards; PHA program assessments; or other PHA administrative, planning, and reporting requirements. This seems like HUD is asking for a delegation of power from Congress to change how the HCV program is administered. I’m curious to see how Congress will respond to this provision.
Fifty-Dollar Minimum Rents – this provisions states that there will be a $50 minimum monthly rent, consistent with hardship exemptions, beginning on the program participant’s first annual or interim recertification.
Replacement Housing Exception – The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) provides exceptions to the 20 percent project-based voucher (PBV) cap and the income-mixing PBV cap for units that were “previously subject to federally required rent restrictions or receiving another type of long-term housing subsidy provided by [HUD].” This provision would modify those exceptions so that units that qualify as replacement units for units previously subject to federally required rent restrictions or receiving another type of long-term housing subsidy provided by HUD, would also be exempt from both the general PBV cap and the income-mixing cap. This provision allows HUD to implement these changes by notice.
The budget includes many other policy provisions that have the potential to impact the HCV program. Additional coverage of the proposed budget’s policy provisions affecting the HCV program can be found in NAHRO’s article “FY 2018 President’s Budget Request: Section 8 Programs” (NAHRO members only).