FY 2015 Appropriations: Congress Sharpens the Knives Again for HOME Program

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Congress appears certain to make further cuts in funding for the federal HOME program and project-based rental assistance for the new fiscal year beginning October 1, based on recent action in the House and Senate on the FY 2015 appropriations bill covering the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The House passed its version (H.R. 4745) on June 10. The Senate Appropriations Committee reported its bill (S. 2438) on June 5 to pave the way for a floor vote. As of mid-June, it was unclear when full Senate action would occur. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration issued a statement expressing its opposition to the House-passed bill, citing, among other reasons, the deep proposed cut to HOME.

The HOME program, a popular source of gap funding for low-income housing tax credit projects, seems certain to suffer yet another cut in annual funding. In FY 2014, Congress provided $1 billion for the program. For FY 2015, the House bill proposes just $700 million while the Senate measure calls for $950 million. One Democratic lawmaker said a funding level of $700 million would be the lowest for HOME in the program’s history.

Both bills also propose less funding than in FY 2014 for project-based rental assistance. Moreover, in both bills, the proposed appropriations for project-based rental assistance and tenant-based rental assistance (i.e. Housing Choice Vouchers) each include an advance of $400 million that isn’t available until October 1, 2015. This accommodates the Administration’s plan to switch from fiscal to calendar year funding of Section 8 contracts. Each chamber’s bill contains $75 million for 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers for veterans.

Including the advance appropriation, the House and Senate bills propose increased funding for tenant-based rental assistance. Both measures also propose higher funding in FY 2015 for Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities.

The House and Senate bills propose the same funding level as FY 2014 for Native American Housing Block Grants, and would both make cuts to Community Development Block Grants. The two bills split on the remaining major programs between proposed increases and decreases – or the same funding levels – compared to FY 2014. For example, the Senate bill contains $10 million for the Rental Assistance Demonstration program while the House version has none. The Senate bill, but not the House, also has language to raise the cap on the number of public housing units (and certain other assisted units) that can be converted under the RAD program to 185,000.

Neither bill contains funds for the National Housing Trust Fund.


Rural Housing Funding

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees recently approved their versions of the FY 2015 appropriations bill (H.R. 4800, S. 2389) containing funding for housing programs administered by the Rural Housing Service.

Both bills provide roughly the same amounts as FY 2014 for RHS’ multifamily housing programs, with the exception of significant cuts to farm labor housing loans and grants.

Comparison of Housing Appropriations Bills

HUD Programs Administration           Proposed FY 2015 FY 2015                 H.R. 4745 (1) FY 2015              S. 2438 (2) Enacted FY 2014
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance $20,045,000,000 $19,356,529,000 (3) $19,562,160,000 (3) $19,177,218,000
Project-Based Rental Assistance $9,746,000,000 $9,746,000,000 (3) $9,746,000,000 (3) $9,916,628,000
Public Housing Capital Fund $1,925,000,000 $1,775,000,000 $1,900,000,000 $1,875,000,000
Public Housing Operating Fund $4,600,000,000 $4,400,000,000 $4,475,000,000 $4,400,000,000
HOME Investment Partnerships $950,000,000 $700,000,000 $950,000,000 $1,000,000,000
Choice Neighborhoods $120,000,000 $25,000,000 $90,000,000 $90,000,000
Community Development Block Grants $2,800,000,000 $3,000,000,000 $3,020,000,000 $3,030,000,000
Housing for the Elderly (Sect. 202) $440,000,000 $420,000,000 $420,000,000 $383,500,000
Housing for Persons With Disabilities (Sect. 811) $160,000,000 $135,000,000 $135,000,000 $126,000,000
Native America Housing Block Grants $650,000,000 $650,000,000 $650,000,000 $650,000,000
Homeless Assistance Grants $2,406,400,000 $2,105,000,000 $2,145,000,000 $2,105,000,000
Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS $332,000,000 $305,900,000 $330,000,000 $330,000,000
Rental Assistance Demonstration $10,000,000 $0 $10 $0
National Housing Trust Fund $1,000,000,000 $0 $0 $0
USDA Rural Housing Service Programs Proposed FY 2015 H.R. 4800 (4) S. 2389 (5) Enacted FY 2014
Section 515 Rural Rental Direct Loans $28,432,000 $28,398,000 $28,432,000 $28,432,000
Section 538  Guaranteed Rural Rental Loans $150,000,000 $150,000,000 $150,000,000 $150,000,000
Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance $1,088,500,000 $1,088,500,000 $1,093,500,000 $1,110,000,000
Multi-Family Housing Revitalization $28,000,000 $28,000,000 $28,000,000 $32,575,000
Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing Loans/Grants $23,900,000 $15,936,000 $16,017,000 $23,855,000
(1) As passed by House on 6/10/14; (2) As passed by Senate Appropriations Committee on 6/5/14); (3) Includes advance appropriation of $400 million available 10/1/15; (4) As passed by House Appropriations Committee on 6/4/14; (5) As passed by Senate Appropriations Committee on 5/22/14.