HUD Secretary Comments on Diminishing Budget Support for HUD Programs

Recently Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ (JCHS) released a report entitled America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs. The report describes how the 2008 recession has affected rental housing trends. Currently, there are 43 million rental households, representing 35 percent of Americans—the highest rate in more than a decade. Additionally, a disproportionate number of lower-income families and individuals living in rental housing pay an excessive share of their income towards rent.

At a housing conference coinciding with the report's release, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan stated, "The simple fact is we are in the midst of the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known." Secretary Donovan commented on the unprecedented decrease in federal budget support for HUD programs. He cited the almost 50 percent cut in funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program from FY 2010 to FY 2013 as an example. In addition, he stated HUD’s top budget priority is to preserve investments already made in housing and discussed the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a new tool for revitalizing the existing public housing stock.

Donovan also called the owners of small developments, properties with five to 49 units, the “unsung heroes of the multifamily market.” Approximately one-third of all rental stock is in small buildings. Donovan said that these properties are a critical part of the affordable housing rental stock and that it has been too hard to finance them or deliver subsidy to them. He requested comments on HUD’s Small Multifamily Risk-Share Initiative. Comments are due to HUD on Jan. 3.