President Approves 'Cromnibus' Funding Measure
On Dec. 16, President Obama signed into law a funding measure that combines a three-month continuing resolution (CR) for the Department of Homeland Security and a long-term omnibus spending bill that includes 11 appropriations bills for the remaining government agencies through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015.
The law provides HUD with $45.4 billion in gross discretionary budget authority for FY 2015. This includes:
- $9.7 billion for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance;
- $19.3 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance;
- $75 million for the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program;
- $1.875 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund;
- $4.44 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund;
- $80 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative program;
- $330 million for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program;
- $900 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships program; and
- $3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
In response to President Obama’s signing the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, HUD Secretary Julián Castro stated that HUD’s budget would allow for the continuation of key administration priorities including the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative to transform distressed public and assisted housing into sustainable, mixed-income housing with connections to key assets and services supporting positive outcomes for families living in the development and in the surrounding neighborhood and tribal lands to access HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH).
Secretary Castro also highlighted two important priority initiatives not included in this year’s budget: funding to end chronic homelessness in 2016, and the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) pilot program. HUD requested a $301 million increase in homeless assistance grants for FY 2015 to develop permanent supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. HUD didn’t receive the full request. And the pilot program for new homebuyers was created in 2014 to further incorporate housing counseling into the home-buying process for borrowers using FHA-insured financing. The implementation of HAWK is now delayed for at least a year.