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The good and the bad of the 2012 housing and transportation budget bill

Today the House T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark-up of the fiscal year 2012 Transportation and Housing (T-HUD) budget. The bill includes $38.1 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a decrease of $3 billion below FY 2011 numbers and $4 billion below the President’s FY 2012 request. The mark-up reflects the amount allocated to T-HUD in the deficit reduction deal, which allocated slightly more to HUD than the previous 302(b) allocation released by House appropriators.

From a housing perspective, there’s good and bad news (recognizing that in this budget environment, flat funding counts as good.)

The good

  • Tenant-based and project-based Section 8 rental assistance was fully funded.
  • Increased funding for Section 202 and 811 ($200 million and $46 million more than last year respectively). However, these two programs had seen decreases over the past several years, so these are still low levels by historical standards.
  • Level funding for homeless assistance at FY 2011 levels.
  • Level funding for Community Development Block Grants at FY 2011 levels.

The bad

  • Severe cuts in the public housing operating and capital funds.
  • The HOME program was cut by 25 percent, and judging by the release form the subcommittee, this was driven in part by recent negative press, despite the HOME program’s proven record of success in creating more than 1 million affordable homes.
  • Elimination of HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods.
  • Elimination of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
  • Zero funding for the Sustainable Communities Initiative.
  • Zero funding for HUD’s housing counseling program, which was eliminated in the FY 2011 budget. See this housing counseling fact sheet from the Center for Housing Policy summarizing the strong evidence on the effectiveness of housing counseling.

This is not the final word, as the Senate must still weigh in and a compromise, if one is possible, must pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the President. For more information, please see the bill language and summary.

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