The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is facing cuts from House and Senate bills that would put its budget at the lowest level in a decade, in inflation-adjusted terms, at a time when housing needs are becoming more urgent, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“These reductions in funding would come in spite of the fact that the number of low-income families experiencing severe hardship due to the lack of affordable housing—which HUD has termed, ‘worst-case housing needs’—has increased by more than 40% since 2001,” says the CBPP.
The bills risk loss of rental assistance for thousands of low-income families.
The House bill allotted $1.1 billion to administrative funding for the 2,400 agencies in charge of the voucher program and ensuring proper use of Congressional funds. This sum is 24% less than the 2011 level and 30% beneath 2010 levels, and if the House bill goes through, it would provide barely more than 60% of the funds that agencies will need and are eligible for.
Meanwhile, the Senate bill provides $1.4 billion, a $50 million cut from 2011 funding levels.
Reductions in administrative funding will almost certainly result in helping fewer families in 2012 than in 2011, says the CBPP.
The CBPP outlines how House and Senate funding bills would negatively impact the Housing Choice Voucher Program, as both bills don’t meet President Obama’s 2012 budget request for renewing the vouchers in important respects.
The House and Senate bills also underfund public housing in 2012, with the House budget reducing funds by nearly $1.4 billion, or 20% beneath the 2011 level. The Senate bill’s cuts aren’t quite as deep, reducing funding by $800 million in 2012.
If Congress combines certain features of the House and Senate bills, it could significantly reduce cuts in rental assistance, says the CBPP. Suggestions include funding the overall HUD budget at least at the House bill level of $38.1 billion and considering accepting the funding rescissions of $432 million in unspent funds, included in the Senate bill.
Read the CBPP file here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace