President Obama Unveils Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal
On February 13, 2012, the Obama Administration unveiled its FY 2013 Budget Request. While IACED supports many of the President’s funding requests for programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we strongly oppose some of the cuts made to programs that are critical to serving low-income, vulnerable populations.
We believe these decisions to scale back key programs aimed at helping families and individuals most in need are extremely ill-advised at the beginning of what was already likely to be a bleak appropriations cycle. That said, there were some bright spots within the funding request. We applaud the Administration’s request to increase funding for Homeless Assistance Grants at $2.2 billion. That figure was the amount authorized under the enacted Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH) and the final appropriations bill for FY12 failed to meet that level, resulting in inadequate implementation of broad program changes.
We also are pleased the proposal increased Section 202 funding for Housing for the Elderly after the program was slashed in the enacted FY12 budget.
IACED Opposes the following cuts:
The budget provides $8.7 billion for project-based rental assistance, down from about $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2012. The proposed savings would be generated by providing less than 12 months of funding up front on some contracts that overlap funding years. Secretary Donovan claims the move will not lower the number of families served or delay payments to landlords, but HUD has tried this accounting technique before and it did not work. A similar gimmick was employed under the Bush Administration about five years ago and it simply created a budget shortfall and created more instability in the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.
The FY13 request for the Sec. 811 program is only $150 million, down from $165 million in 2012.
The Administration proposes cutting the Community Development Fund from $3.308 in FY12 to $3.143 in FY13.
The Administration only maintains requests for funding for Community Development Block Grants and HOME funds. In FY2012, these programs saw drastic funding cuts when communities needed those funds to continue rebuilding distressed communities. These programs are highly leveraged and extremely effective tools in helping and communities reduce blight and expand affordable homeownership. We support an increase in allocation to both of these programs.
In addition to the funding guidelines, the Administration’s HUD request included several policy provisions. One of those proposals would increase minimum rents paid by the lowest income HUD-assisted households to a mandatory level of $75. In a time where there are so many cost-burdened families on the verge of homelessness, introducing a mandatory rent requirement of $75 (up from $25-$50) would only serve to further destabilize the lowest-income families and individuals. Funding for homelessness cannot keep pace with demand and emergency shelters do not have the capacity to serve new individuals that could be forced out of assisted housing programs after failing to meet this requirement.
Finally, we support the Administration’s proposal to finally invest in the National Housing Trust Fund. While it was not part of the HUD-specific request, we support the Administration’s request of $1 billion for the NHTF.
To review the Administration’s HUD proposal, click here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/housing.pdf