Federal Housing News
February 1, 2016
CBO Report Details Increased Deficit Projections; Hearing Rescheduled
The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was released on January 25. According to CBO, the federal deficit is projected to grow by about $8.5 trillion between 2016 and 2025, up from the $7 trillion that CBO projected in August 2015. The CBO states that the increase “is mostly from the decline in [our] projections of revenues.” Half of the increase ($749 billion) is the result of the December law that permanently extended a number of tax credits and deductions.
CBO also reports that spending in 2016 for nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, which includes spending for all HUD and Rural Housing Service programs, will be the lowest as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 1966, when the CBO first began these analyses. CBO forecasts that NDD spending as a percentage of GDP will continue to decrease over the next ten years.
Both House and Senate hearings on the CBO report, originally scheduled for the week of January 25, were postponed because of the snowstorm in the Washington, DC area. The House Committee on the Budget has rescheduled its hearing for February 4 at 9:30 am ET in room 210 of the Cannon House office building. A new Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on the CBO report has not been announced.
Read the CBO report at: https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/reports/51129-2016Outlook.pdf
House Financial Services Will Hold Mark-up on FY17 Budget, February 2
The House Committee on Financial Services will hold a mark-up of its “Views and Estimates” on the budget for FY17 on February 2. Early each calendar year, each Committee submits a Views and Estimates to the House Budget Committee for its consideration in formulating the budget resolution for the coming fiscal year. The FY17 budget resolution is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives by March 23 when the House leaves for Easter recess. The hearing will be held at 10 am ET in Rayburn House Office Building room 2128. For more information about the mark-up, go here: http://1.usa.gov/20iVIp0
CBPP: Low Income Programs Shortchanged
A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analyzes how the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations allocated the $33 billion in funds for nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs made available by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The report concludes that appropriators “allocated the available non-defense funds among the eleven subcommittees with non-defense responsibilities in a way that shortchanged low income and other social programs.”
Housing Assistance Reform Bill Goes to House Floor Week of February 1
Housing assistance reform legislation, H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives floor during the week of February 1. Representatives will likely offer amendments to the bill during floor consideration, which could begin as soon as February 2. NLIHC supports the bill.
FHA to Cut Insurance Rates on Multifamily Mortgages to Spur Development
On January 28, HUD announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will lower its insurance rates for multifamily mortgages in an effort to increase and preserve affordable and energy-efficient rental housing by encouraging more capital financing through reduced borrowing costs. The rate reduction, which will go into effect on April 1, will directly impact FHA’s Multifamily Housing Programs and properties housing low- and moderate-income families, as well as developments that install energy-efficient systems or that meet federal energy guidelines.
Next federal funding cycle begins in February. The Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 will be released February 9. The budget deal reached in October (see HAC News, 10/28/15) requires federal discretionary spending, including housing, to remain essentially the same as in FY16.
USDA offers Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants. Public agencies, nonprofits, tribes, and consortia are eligible to apply by February 12 for these funds, which are then used to fund repairs and rehab for low- and very low-income homeowners or owners of rental property or coops who agree to make their units available to low- and very low-income persons. Contact a USDA RD State Office or Jeaneane Shelton, USDA, 202-720-5443.
Funding notice revised for HOPWA Project Demonstration and Violence Against Women Act Grants. States, local governments, and nonprofits can apply by March 8 to receive both a Housing Opportunities for Persons Living With AIDS grant for housing, and a Transitional Housing Assistance Program grant for supportive services. HUD encourages potential applicants to register for the HOPWA mailing list to receive details about a January 22 webcast. Contact Amy Palilonis, HUD, 202-402-5916.
Transitional housing funds for domestic violence victims offered by Department of Justice. Nonprofits, local and state governments, PHAs, and tribal entities are eligible for grants to provide transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services for survivors. Apply by February 24. Contact DOJ staff, 202-307-6026.
CDFI Bond Guarantee Program opens FY16 funding round. CDFIs can apply by March 4 to become Qualified Issuers of bonds, or can apply by March 18 for credit through the Bond Guarantee Program, which finances community and economic development, including housing. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421, option 5.
VA will fund housing assistive technology development. To encourage development of new technologies such as voice commands, VA offers grants of up to $200,000. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits, and others can apply by February 29. Contact Robert Mims, VA, 202-632-8816.
HUD releases fair housing Assessment Tool. This tool, along with other resources, is for local jurisdictions that are required to conduct and submit Assessments of Fair Housing. HUD will issue separate Assessment Tools for use by states – which administer programs including HOME and CDBG for many rural areas – as well as for insular areas and for PHAs collaborating with other PHAs. Contact George D. Williams, Sr., HUD, 1-866-234-2689 (toll-free).
Promise Zones competition opens. HUD intends to designate five urban Promise Zones and USDA intends to designate one rural and one tribal community. Eligible lead applicants for rural and tribal PZ designations are local governments; federally recognized tribes; and nonprofits, housing authorities, tribally designated housing entities, local education agencies, or community colleges partnering with local or tribal government. The deadline is February 23. Contact Bryan Herdliska, HUD, 202-402-6758.
USDA extends temporary authorizations to help spend Section 502 direct funds in FY16. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 4, 2016 permits obligations subject to appraisals, removes some restrictions on use of 502 direct loans to refinance non-USDA loans, and allows new rates and terms assumptions to be processed as initial loans. The provisions are effective until September 30, 2016. Contact a USDA RD office.
USDA RD offers guidance on Section 504 and Section 538. Separate Administrative Notices address management control review findings for Section 504 repair loans (AN 4793) and Section 538 multifamily loan guarantees (AN 4792). Contact William Downs, USDA, 202-720-1499.
Most veterans in demonstration program avoided homelessness, report says. The Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration was conducted by the Departments of Labor, HUD, and VA at five urban sites. At program entry, 74% of the participating veteran households were at risk of homelessness, and about 26% were homeless. They received financial assistance and case management for periods from 39 to 146 days; 10.5% reported experiencing homelessness during the six months after exiting the program. Employment levels and incomes increased. It is not clear how much of the improvement would have occurred even without this program.