|FY 2018 Omnibus Bill Released; HUD Funding up by 10 Percent
Last night, Congress finally unveiled its FY 2018 omnibus spending package, which contains $63 billion in additional funding for domestic programs and a 10 percent increase in spending for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Overall, the Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) appropriations bill did very well, with a 24 percent increase. The increase in T-HUD spending was reflected in the HUD budget, which received a 10 percent increase compared to FY 2017. The additional funding resulted in funding increases for nearly every single program in the HUD portfolio. Here are some highlights from the bill (funding is compared to FY 2017 enacted levels):
NAHRO’s appropriations requests for five programs were met or exceeded: Congress met the request for CDBG, Jobs Plus, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, and exceeded the request for HOME by $162 million. The request for Homeless Assistance Grants was nearly reached.
In addition to increased funding, the omnibus also contains two key provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548, H.R. 1661). The bill increases the allocation by 12.5 percent for 4 years and allows for income averaging. NAHRO members have been a key voice in the fight for the bill and even jumped into action during the weekend omnibus negotiations, urging leadership to include the legislation in the spending bill.
The omnibus is a dramatic bi-partisan Congressional rejection of the President’s proposal for FY 2018; his plan to eliminate HUD’s community development portfolio was met with a combined $300 million increase in funding for HOME and CDBG. The suggestion that the Public Housing Capital Fund be slashed to $628 million was countered with a more than $800 million increase.
NAHRO members were an integral part of this success; a significant percentage of the 3,467 national organizations that joined a letter to appropriators urging them to increase funding for the T-HUD bill in FY 2018 were public housing authorities or community development officers. The omnibus bill is a testament to the hard work done by NAHRO advocates to demonstrate the damaging impact the Budget Control Act and sequestration has had on communities. Last August alone, you sent over 2,500 letters to your legislators outlining many of the priorities that we see reflected in this bill. Keep it up – Congress is listening.