NAHRO Policy Team Blog

  • Jeff Falcusan February 18, 2011 10:05am EST

    It's Day 5 of our week-long, wall-to-wall coverage of the President's FY 2012 budget.  Late yesterday we distributed our detailed summary of the proposal's treatment of community development and affordable housing programs, including CDBG, HOME, Homeless Assistance Grants, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.  Our summaries covering public housing and Section 8 are archived online for your convenience. 

    In a matter of hours we will issue our FY 2012 funding recommendations for selected HUD programs.  Stay tuned. 

  • Jeff Falcusan February 17, 2011 10:00am EST

    We have now posted our comprehensive overview of the FY 2012 budget proposal's treatment of Section 8 programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher program and Project-based Rental Assistance.  Our overview also looks at how Section 8 programs fare under H.R. 1, the Republican-crafted long-term Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 that is still under consideration on the House floor. 

    Later today we'll send out our summary of the budget's treatment of community development and affordable housing programs.  That overview will cover, among other topics, CDBG, HOME, homeless assistance grants, and proposed improvements to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. As I mentioned yesterday, we'll conclude our week-long coverage of the FY 2012 budget tomorrow with the release of NAHRO’s FY 2012 funding recommendations for housing and community development programs.    

    A couple of quick notes related to CDBG:  As you've probably head by now, H.R. 1 as introduced would cut CDBG formula funding by approximately 62 percent compared to FY 2010, and there are rumblings of amendments that would reduce CDBG formula funding further.  Looking ahead to the next fiscal year, the President's budget would reduce CDBG formula funding by 7.5 percent compared to the FY 2010 enacted level.

    NAHRO is working closely with our community development industry partners to make the case for maintaining CDBG formula funding at the FY 2010 level (approximately $4 billion).  NAHRO and a long list of organizations representing community development practitioners and local elected officials will meet today with the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development to review the most up-to-date CDBG accomplishment data available.  Having access to this data will be helpful as we advocate full funding for CDBG for FY 2011, FY 2012, and beyond.  We'll keep you posted on this effort.

  • Jeff Falcusan February 16, 2011 09:56am EST

    We have now posted our comprehensive overview of the FY 2012 budget proposal's treatment of public housing programs, including the Operating Fund, Capital Fund, and HOPE VI.  The summary also examines the administration's proposals to offset $1 billion in Operating Fund reserves (more on that below) and recast the Transforming Rental Assistance initiative as a demonstration. 

    In addition to analyzing the FY 2012 budget proposal’s impact on public housing, our overview looks at how public housing programs fare under H.R. 1, the Republican-crafted long-term Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 that is currently under consideration on the House floor.  (The current Continuing Resolution funding most federal programs at FY 2010 levels is set to expire March 4.)  Please note that this review is based on H.R. 1 as introduced.  The funding levels for individual housing and community development programs in H.R. 1 are subject to change as the House considers amendments.

    Later today we'll send out a similar piece covering Section 8 programs, and our analysis of the budget’s treatment of community development and affordable housing programs is scheduled for tomorrow.  We'll be wrapping up our week-long series on Friday with the release of NAHRO’s FY 2012 funding recommendations for housing and community development programs, paired with a review of additional information gleaned from the many budget briefings NAHRO staff is attending throughout the week.    

    Returning to the subject of Operating Fund reserves, many NAHRO members have been asking us exactly how HUD's offset proposal will work.  The short answer is that we don't know...yet.  There are a number of unknowns, with perhaps the most important being the precise point in time HUD will use to calculate agencies' reserve levels.  The methodology HUD ultimately employs will obviously have enormous consequences for agencies' planned activities, including potentially those activities for which reserves are already obligated.  Yesterday, during a briefing on the FY 2012 budget attended by NAHRO staff, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez suggested that agencies "may have to think about delaying plans" and, as a result, move certain projects to "the back burner." As we learn more, we'll pass it along. 

  • Jeff Falcusan February 15, 2011 09:33am EST

    NAHRO's preliminary overview of the President's FY 2012 budget is now online.

    Later today we'll be issuing a comprehensive summary of the budget's treatment of public housing programs.  On Wednesday we'll do the same for Section 8, and on Thursday we'll cover community development and affordable housing programs, including some proposed improvements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. 

    Meanwhile, the House will today take up H.R. 1, the Republican-crafted Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.  NAHRO members:  Please be sure to review yesterday's special report and our comprehensive chart comparing H.R. 1’s treatment of key HUD programs to the FY 2010 HUD funding bill as well as the President’s FY 2011 request. 

  • Jeff Falcusan February 14, 2011 09:47am EST

    Where to start?

    The President's FY 2012 budget will be released today at 10:30 a.m. EST.  HUD has scheduled a briefing for 2:00 p.m. EST.  NAHRO staff will be on the scene, and you can view the webcast through the Department's website.

    NAHRO will, as always, provide comprehensive coverage of the FY 2012 budget, starting this afternoon with a broad overview of the proposal's treatment of HUD programs.  We will roll out longer pieces analyzing the budget's impact on Public Housing, Section 8, and Community Planning and Development programs, respectively, in the days ahead.

    In other news, Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee unveiled H.R. 1, the "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011," Friday evening.  We'll be sending NAHRO members subscribed to Direct News an alert summarizing the bill in the next hour or so, but here's a sneak preview:

    • The Public Housing Capital Fund is cut by over $1 billion compared to FY 2010.
    • CDBG formula grants are cut by nearly $2.5 billion compared to FY 2010, a reduction of 62 percent.
    • Section 8 HAP renewals are cut by over $600 million compared to the President’s request for FY 2011 and by more than $360 million compared to FY 2010.
    • Section 8 ongoing administrative fees are slashed by $368 million compared to FY 2010 and $584 million below the President’s request for FY 2011.
    • Funding for HOPE VI, the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, and the Rural Innovation Fund is eliminated entirely.
    • Prior year unobligated balances for HOPE VI, the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, and the Sustainable Communities Initiative are rescinded

    NAHRO members:  Here's a chart comparing funding levels for HUD programs under H.R. 1 to FY 2010 levels and the President's FY 2011 budget. 

  • Jeff Falcusan February 10, 2011 11:30am EST

    A few links worth mentioning...

    Rep. Keith Ellison pens an op-ed in support of his Rental Housing Revitalization Act.

    Dr. Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, blogs about the Department's recently released Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress.

    Affordable Housing Finance interviews Carol Galante, HUD's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing. 

  • Jeff Falcusan February 07, 2011 11:59am EST

    In an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times over the weekend, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew provides a preview of President Obama's FY 2012 budget, which will be released on Monday, February 14. 

    "As the president said in his State of the Union address, now that the country is back from the brink of a potential economic collapse, our goal is to win the future by out-educating, out-building and out-innovating our rivals so that we can return to robust economic and job growth. But to make room for the investments we need to foster growth, we have to cut what we cannot afford. We have to reduce the burden placed on our economy by years of deficits and debt...

    "In the budget, the president will call for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending other than for national security. This will reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade and bring this category of spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president...

    "Make no mistake: this will not be easy... [To] achieve the deeper cuts needed to support this spending freeze, we have had to look beyond the obvious and cut spending for purposes we support. We had to choose programs that, absent the fiscal situation, we would not cut.

    "Since they were instituted, community service block grants have helped to support community action organizations in cities and towns across the country. These are grassroots groups working in poor communities, dedicated to empowering those living there and helping them with some of life’s basic necessities. These are the kinds of programs that President Obama worked with when he was a community organizer, so this cut is not easy for him.

    "Yet for the past 30 years, these grants have been allocated using a formula that does not consider how good a job the recipients are doing. The president is proposing to cut financing for this grant program in half, saving $350 million, and to reform the remaining half into a competitive grant program, so that funds are spent to give communities the most effective help.

    "Another difficult cut is a reduction of $125 million, or about a quarter of current financing, to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which supports environmental cleanup and protection. And a third is a reduction in the Community Development Block Grant program. These flexible grants help cities and counties across the nation finance projects in areas like housing, sewers and streets, and economic development in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

    "While we know from mayors and county leaders how important these grants are for their communities, and are very aware of the financial difficulties many of them face, the sacrifices needed to begin putting our fiscal house in order must be broadly shared, and we are proposing to cut this program by 7.5 percent, or $300 million."

    Congress provided $3.948 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula allocations for FY 2010 (after accounting for a transfer of funding to HUD's Transformation Intitiative).   Because the FY 2011 appropriations process remains unresolved, the ultimate funding level for CDBG for the current federal fiscal year has yet to be determined.  However, reducing CDBG formula grant funding by 7.5 percent compared to FY 2010 (without adjusting for inflation) would result in a program funding level of $3.652 billion for FY 2012.

    The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.  NAHRO does not issue an annual funding recommendation for this program, but we recognize that CSBG funding is a critically important resource for many NAHRO members.

  • Tamar Greenspan February 05, 2011 04:41pm EST

    On Monday, February 7, HUD will issue a proposed rule for the Capital Fund.  This rule would take the place of the regulations at 24 CFR 905.  The rule also proposes to replace and remove several other regulations that currently govern a PHA’s use of HUD assistance, specifically: 24 CFR part 941, entitled “Public Housing Development”; 24 CFR part 968, entitled “Public Housing Modernization”; and 24 CFR part 969, entitled “PHA-Owned Projects - Continued Operation as Low-Income Housing After Completion of Debt Service.” In the case of part 969, which provides for the continued operation of housing as public housing for the 10-year period after the last receipt of operating subsidy, sections 9(e)(3) and 9(m) of the 1937 Act, along with the Annual Contributions Contract (ACC), serve the same purpose, making the separate regulations in 24 CFR part 969 no longer necessary. Although HUD established the Capital Fund formula in 2000, HUD continued to rely on the regulations in these other parts of 24 CFR, to the extent that these requirements were not superseded by statutory requirements.

    NAHRO staff will provide detailed analysis of the Proposed Rule for members.  A 60-day public comment period will follow the appearance of the Proposed Rule in the Federal Register.

  • Tamar Greenspan February 03, 2011 02:03pm EST

    HUD has advanced the second distribution of Operating Funds to PHAs.  This distribution covers both February and March.  As with the first distribution, HUD has adjusted 2010 eligibility to estimate 2011 eligibility.  Unlike the initial distribution which assumed a 100% pro-ration relative to eligibility, the second one employs a 92% pro-ration.  NAHRO’s coverage of the initial distribution, including the eligibility adjustment, can be found here.

    NAHRO members: We will provide additional coverage on the prospects for funding of the Operating Fund in FY 2011 in the February 15th edition of the NAHRO Monitor.

  • Jeff Falcusan February 02, 2011 10:27am EST

    Hours before President Obama delivered his State of the Union address on January 25, the House of Representatives approved a nonbinding resolution to roll back domestic discretionary funding for FY 2011 to FY 2008 levels.  The resolution was approved by a vote of 256 in favor to 165 against, with 17 Democrats joining 239 Republicans in support of the measure.  The resolution, if actually acted upon by the Congress when it finalizes the still-unresolved FY 2011 appropriations process, would require spending cuts of approximately 20 percent for the budgets of non-defense Cabinet-level agencies, including HUD. 

    In a February 1 press release, HUD announced that “'worst case housing needs' grew by nearly 1.2 million households, or more than 20 percent, from 2007 to 2009 and by 42 percent since 2001."  According to HUD,  "the increase in the extent of worst case housing needs represents the largest two-year jump since HUD began reporting this segment of the rental market in 1985." 

    HUD defines "worst case housing needs” as low-income households who paid more than half their monthly income for rent, lived in severely substandard housing, or both. 

    Full Report: Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress