October 31, 2019 —
Thanks to strong advocacy, the Senate passed by a vote of 84-9 a four-bill spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2020 that includes additional funding for affordable housing and community development at HUD and USDA, as well as several key amendments.
The Senate spending bill provides modest funding increases for affordable housing programs, clearly rejecting President Trump’s call for deep cuts to and even the elimination of affordable housing investments. Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $11.9 billion above the president’s FY20 request and $2.3 billion above FY19 enacted levels – an amount likely sufficient to renew all existing rental assistance contracts and to provide level funding or modest increases to most other programs. For more information, see NLIHC’s analysis of the Senate bill and updated budget chart.
The bill includes a package of amendments with bipartisan support, including several that support affordable housing in rural areas and manufactured home communities. An amendment offered by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) would allow USDA to extend rental assistance agreements for projects financed by existing Section 514 or 515 loans for up to 20 years, ensuring residents in these properties can remain affordably housed for a longer period of time.
The package includes another amendment from Senator Smith that prioritizes maintenance of USDA rural housing properties through capital repairs, staffing provisions, and enforcement. The Senate also agreed to Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) amendment calling on Congress to create a tax incentive to encourage owners of manufactured home communities to transfer properties to nonprofit organizations and residents to help preserve the homes’ affordability.
The Senate bill does not include important provisions approved by the House that would stop harmful proposals by the Trump administration. The House bill contains language that would prevent HUD from implementing its harmful “mixed-status” immigrant-family rule and would stop HUD from rolling back protections for LGBTQ people, including the agency’s Equal Access rule ensuring transgender people have access to emergency shelters and other facilities that match their gender identity.
Passage of the Senate spending bill is an important step, but the House and Senate still need to reach an agreement on a final FY20 spending bill to ensure continued funding for federal programs and avoid a government shutdown. The government is currently operating under a stop-gap continuing resolution through November 21.
This article courtesy of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition
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