|Last week, the House Financial Services Committee released the text of legislation that would appropriate more than $300 billion in funding for affordable housing programs, including historic investments in HOME and the Housing Trust Fund. The bill also would establish a new federal program through which states and nonprofits would provide first-generation home buyers with grants for down payment assistance and other expenses associated with purchasing a home. The committee intends to consider the legislation during a mark-up today.
The committee’s bill is intended to be included as part of a larger reconciliation package that could provide up to $3.5 trillion in new federal spending and tax expenditures. The investments were authorized in the Budget Resolution Congress passed last month. Bills advanced under the reconciliation process can pass the Senate via simple majority and cannot be filibustered. The House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees housing-related tax provisions, began marking up its reconciliation bill earlier today but will not consider housing provisions until early next week.
The Financial Services Committee bill provides $35 billion for HOME and $37 billion for the Housing Trust Fund, with the funds to remain available through fiscal year (FY) 2031. Significant funding for each program was among NCSHA’s priorities for the reconciliation package, which we outlined in letters to congressional leadership and the leaders of the relevant committees.
The bill exempts the HOME funds provided in the legislation from several statutory program requirements, including that all HOME funds be committed within 24 months, that participating jurisdictions (PJs) match a portion of HOME funding received with their own funds, and that PJs allocate at least 15 percent of their HOME funding toward projects involving Community Housing Development Organizations.
The down payment assistance program would receive $10 billion through FY 2031, with $6.9 billion going to states and $2.3 billion awarded competitively to Community Development Financial Institutions and other entities. The funds could be used to help first-generation home buyers, defined as “those who attest that neither they nor their parents have previously owned a home.” Eligible expenses include down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, and interest rate reductions. Funds also could be used to finance pre-purchase modifications needed to make a home accessible for the buyers or members of their household. Home buyers cannot receive assistance that exceeds 10 percent of the home’s purchase price, but HUD is allowed to increase the maximum assistance amount for home buyers who are considered economically disadvantaged.
Other provisions in the bill include:
- $77.25 billion to support capital repairs for public housing;
- $2.75 billion for an initiative similar to the Choice Neighborhoods program;
- $75 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, with $25 billion targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking;
- $8.5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, with $1 billion set aside to address housing and infrastructure needs in colonias;
- $10 billion for the Capital Magnet Fund;
- $2.5 billion for Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly;
- $1 billion for housing for persons with disabilities;
- $10 billion for lead paint removal;
- $500 million to subsidize 20-year mortgages for Federal Housing Administration borrowers; and
- $100 million to support a pilot program supporting small-dollar mortgage lending ($100,000 or less).