On May 5, President Trump signed into law the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, a $1.1 trillion spending package that comes more than seven months into the current fiscal year (FY) and only five months before FY 2017 appropriations expire on September 30. The bill provided HUD $38.8 billion, which represents a $512.58 million increase over FY16 levels, and housing and community development programs at HUD, the Department of Treasury and the Department of Agriculture mostly received modest funding increases or level-funding compared to FY 16 levels.
Specific housing and community development provisions in the omnibus include:
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance saw a $663 million funding increase to $20.29 billion, and Project-Based Rental Assistance saw a $194 million funding increase to $10.8 billion, allowing all existing rental assistance voucher contracts to be renewed.
- The Public Housing Capital Fund received a $41.5 million funding increase to $1.94 billion, but the Public Housing Operating fund was cut by $100 million to $4.4 billion.
- Congress provided level funding to the HOME Investment Partnerships program, Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), and Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing (Section 4) program compared to FY 16 levels.
- Congress raised the number of public housing units eligible for participation in the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) from 185,000 to 225,000.
- The omnibus increased funding for the USDA’s Rural Housing Service by $166 million to $2.94 billion, which fully funds USDA’s Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance program and provides modest increases to the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loan Program and Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization demonstration.
- The Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund received a $14.4 million funding increase to $248 million, a record appropriation for the program.
Learn more about the omnibus package and details on program funding levels in Enterprise’s blog post.
While the FY 2017 omnibus bill demonstrated bipartisan support for vital affordable housing and community development programs, these programs remain under threat in the FY 2018 appropriations process. The White House’s FY 2018 Budget Request, which is slated for release on May 23, is expected to propose extreme cuts. The Administration’s skinny budget proposal, released in March, proposed eliminating funding for CDBG, HOME, Section 4, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and the CDFI Fund. While both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have rejected such drastic cuts, funding for these programs is still at risk during this difficult budget environment, and it is incumbent on affordable housing and community development stakeholders to advocate for preserving and expanding these programs.