|The Administration’s FY 2019 Budget proposes eliminating HOME, the Housing Trust Fund, CDBG, and other effective housing programs, and drastically reduces federal rental assistance on which so many people rely. Losing funding for these programs would be a devastating blow to the efforts of state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) and others to provide affordable housing and a path out of poverty for thousands of families. These programs lead to job creation, economic growth, vibrant communities, and personal transformation. They provide critical housing stability that leads to better health outcomes, improves children’s school performance, helps people gain and keep jobs, and promotes economic mobility. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) encourages Congress to reject these proposed cuts and preserve these crucial programs.
We are interested in the Administration’s proposals to support self-sufficiency, promote independence, and provide program administrators more flexibility. We believe HFAs can help the Administration fulfill these goals and look forward to working with HUD to discuss and develop them, including more EnVision Centers.
The Budget addresses housing finance reform without putting forward specific proposals. We call on the Administration and Congress to ensure that any housing finance reform legislation promotes robust affordable homeownership and rental lending, increases funding for affordable housing production, and secures a strong role for state HFAs.
The Administration’s infrastructure plan has many interesting elements. We urge the Administration and Congress to amend the plan to add substantial support for affordable housing, which is a basic element of our nation’s infrastructure. Building affordable housing creates jobs, allows individuals and families to flourish, and contributes to thriving communities. Residential construction can be a catalyst for other infrastructure spending, small businesses, service jobs, and other spillover economic and community development. It is unfortunate that, on the same day the Administration unveils its plan to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure, its Budget proposes cutting programs that have been key to developing our housing infrastructure.
We are pleased that the Administration appears to recognize the need to eliminate state caps on private activity bonds, but are uncertain based on the publicly available summaries whether the proposal applies to Housing Bonds. State HFAs could help produce significantly more affordable housing if the private activity bond caps were eliminated.