U.S. Senate bill: S. — FY20 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill
The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its version of the bill on September 19, and the measure also included $2.76 billion for homeless assistance grants. The HUD funding bill was packaged with three other funding bills, which passed the Senate on October 30.
Cosponsors:(see all cosponsors)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sponsor
U.S. House bill: H.R. 3163 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020
The House has passed its version of the bill, which includes $2.8 billion for homeless assistance grants.
Cosponsors:(see all cosponsors)
Rep. David Price (D-NC-4), Sponsor
Each year, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards Homeless Assistance Grants to communities that administer housing and services at the local level. Specifically, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) formula grant program and the competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) program fund the cornerstones of each community’s homeless system. The ESG grant funds street outreach, homelessness prevention and diversion, emergency shelter, and rapid re-housing. The CoC program funds permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, coordinated entry, and demonstrations like the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program.
There are also four program accounts in appropriations bills that represent almost all Federal spending for affordable housing assistance for people with the lowest incomes:
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) — this includes the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (“Section 8”), Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, and Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) — formerly known as “Project-Based Section 8,” this program provides rent subsidies for many privately owned affordable housing programs
- Public Housing accounts:
- Operating Funds — used by Public Housing Authorities for day-to-day costs
- Capital Grants — used for larger scale building repairs or maintenance
Alliance position: It is essential that both chambers of congress pass a final spending bill that includes HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants and affordable housing assistance programs.
Larger funding issues, particularly the Administration’s strong interest in building a wall at the nation’s southern border, will make further progress on all funding bills difficult. The current continuing resolution expires on November 21. It is acknowledged that at least one more continuing resolution will be enacted in order to allow additional time to resolve differences between the House, the Senate, and the Administration on funding bills. Some lawmakers have pushed for the next continuing resolution to end just before Christmas in order to pressure leaders to come to an agreement before allowing Congress to recess for the holidays. Other lawmakers, mindful of the adverse impact on bipartisan comity from the effort to impeach President Trump, suggest that the continuing resolution should last into February, i.e., through a possible Senate trial of the President. The farther into the fiscal year the federal government is funded through continuing resolutions the more likely it is that the FY20 funding bills will be scrapped and agencies instead funded by continuing resolution (at FY19 levels) for the rest of the fiscal year. Given that HUD would be better funded in FY20 than it was in FY19, particularly with respect to Homeless Assistance Grants and Housing Choice Vouchers, the Alliance strongly prefers that the Congress and the President finish work on all appropriations bills, particularly the ones that are considered non-controversial, which includes the one for HUD.
Activists are asked to urge their lawmakers, particularly if they are members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, to provide Homeless Assistance Grants with $3 billion in funding in FY20. Senator Reed, the ranking member on the Senate subcommittee that writes the HUD funding bill, has said that he would like to increase the funding for Homeless Assistance Grants in a conference to resolve differences over the House and Senate HUD funding bills.