President Trump Signs FY17 Spending Bill
President Trump recently signed a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government operating through September. The bill cleared both houses of Congress and Trump signed it into law just ahead of a midnight deadline after which some government operations would’ve had to begin shutting down. The bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers by a vote of 309-118 in the House and 79-18 in the Senate.
The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) spending bill funds most HUD programs at or above FY16 levels. The only programs to see funding cuts compared to FY16 were the Public Housing Operating Fund ($4.4 billion in FY17 compared to $4.5 billion in FY16) and Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($146 million in FY17 compared to $151 million in FY16).
Tenant-based rental assistance. The spending package provides $20.3 billion for tenant-based rental assistance. Of this amount, $18.36 billion is for Section 8 voucher renewals, enough to fully fund existing vouchers.
Project-based rental housing. The bill provides $10.8 billion for project-based rental assistance, an increase of $186 million from the FY16 funding level. However, this is a reduction from the $10.9 billion House and Senate negotiators had agreed to last year when negotiating an FY17 appropriations bill that ultimately wasn’t enacted.
Public housing. The public housing capital fund saw a small increase. However, the operating fund received a $100 million cut. The operating fund allocation fell from $4.5 billion in FY16 to $4.4 billion, while the capital fund allocation increased from $1.9 billion to $1.94 billion to help address lead-based paint hazards in public housing. The bill directs $35 million of the capital fund to be used for supportive services and service coordinators.
Rental Assistance Demonstration. The bill increases the number of public housing units eligible to convert to project-based Section 8 under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program from 185,000 to 225,000 and extends RAD authorization to 2020.
Homelessness. The bill increases funding for homeless assistance programs to $2.38 billion from $2.25 billion in FY16.
Other housing programs. The bill provides $502 million to the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, enough to renew all existing contracts and provide $10 million to build new units or provide rental assistance. The bill also reduces funding for the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program to $146 million, $5 million less than the FY16 level. The bill, however, does not include language allowing Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) properties to convert under RAD.
The bill funds the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program at $950 million. This is the same level of funding that House and Senate appropriators had agreed to last year when negotiating an FY17 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that ultimately wasn’t enacted. The bill also includes a provision eliminating the requirement that HOME Participating Jurisdictions commit HOME funds within 24 months or face recapture. This requirement is in effect for program funds that would otherwise expire between 2016 and 2019.
Funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program was increased to $356 million to account for changes made to how the program funds are awarded by the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act.
Healthy Homes. The bill provides $145 million to the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants, a $35 million increase over FY16, and proposes initiatives to address lead-based paint hazards in affordable housing. The bill directs HUD to establish a process to improve data on how PHAs are complying with lead-based paint regulations in properties that use Section 8 vouchers.
The bill also takes steps to address the physical conditions of HUD-assisted housing to ensure residents are living in decent and safe homes. It requires HUD to take action against property owners receiving rental subsidies that don’t maintain safe properties. The language authorizes the HUD secretary to replace the property’s management agent with one approved by HUD, impose civil monetary penalties, change HUD’s contract with the property owner until the problem is resolved, transfer the property or contract to a new owner, and relocate tenants, among other actions.
Fair housing. The bill specifies that none of the funding made available under the bill may be used to direct a HUD grantee to undertake specific changes to existing zoning laws as part of carrying out the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing final rule.