Congress Passes FY 2017 Spending Omnibus

Both the House and Senate, on May 3 and May 4, respectively, passed the FY 2017 omnibus spending package funding government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for the remainder of FY 2017, which ends September 30. The President is expected to sign the measure today.

In good news for affordable housing and HFAs, the bill level funds the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program at $950 million, the same level of funding that House and Senate appropriators had agreed to last year when negotiating an FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill that was ultimately not enacted. The new omnibus provides $10.8 billion for project-based rental assistance, a reduction from the $10.9 billion negotiators had agreed to last year, but enough to fully fund all expiring project-based assistance contracts. It also includes $18.36 billion for Section 8 voucher renewals, enough to fully fund existing vouchers, and $1.65 billion for PHA administrative fees, the same amount as provided in FY 2016. NCSHA’s budget chart provides more details on spending levels of individual HUD and U.S. Department of Agriculture rural housing programs.

In addition to setting funding levels, the bill also makes several policy changes of relevance to HFAS. Specifically, it:

  • Includes a provision eliminating the requirement that HOME Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) commit HOME funds within 24 months or face recapture, effective for program funds that would otherwise expire between 2016 and 2019;
  • Increases the number of public housing units eligible to convert to project-based section 8 under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program from 185,000 to 225,000 and extends RAD authorization to 2020; and
  • Specifies that none of the funding made available under the bill may be used to direct a HUD grantee to undertake specific changes to existing zoning laws as part of carrying out the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing final rule.

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