Message on the Increased Federal Resources for Affordable & Public Housing
For the first time in decades, Congress has significantly increased the federal resources available for affordable and public housing.
Housing is a basic human necessity and yet, for a growing number of Americans, access to a safe, affordable home is out of reach. The affordable housing crisis is a genuine and growing threat to the security, stability, and opportunity that home represents, and is one that we can no longer afford to overlook.
For the first time in decades, Congress has significantly increased the federal resources available for affordable and public housing, recognizing the critical role that housing plays in our lives, our communities, and our economy. This funding package represents additional resources for the many programs — Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnership Program, Section 8, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit — that make possible the safe, stable affordable housing that is proven to improve health and educational outcomes for families and provide economic benefits to communities.
This watershed moment also represents a welcome change in the federal government’s approach to the public housing capital fund. With a more than 40% increase, this move will help public housing more aggressively address critical level of repair needs, at over $17 billion in New York City alone. Public housing residents deserve decent housing and the government must address those needs; this bill is a move in the right direction.
We applaud our partners across the country, and the New York Congressional delegation for their steadfast and vigorous advocacy to defend and indeed expand the resources available for public and affordable housing on behalf of veterans, seniors, families with children, and the most vulnerable Americans who need and deserve the opportunity that safe, quality affordable housing provides. The fight is far from over, and we will continue to push for the increased resources and sound policies that will help ensure a decent standard of living for all Americans.
— Shola Olatoye, NYCHA Chair, Maria Torres-Springer, HPD Commissioner and Eric Enderlin, HDC President
Some of the ways the FY2018 omnibus impacts NYC
The FY2018 omnibus bill included significant increases for affordable and public housing resources.
The bill increases HUD funding by 10% over FY2017 levels, including increased funding for key NYC affordable housing programs. While the specific funding levels for localities are not yet known (HUD will release information to grantees in coming months), NYC anticipates increased funding:
- Increase in public housing capital of over 40% after years of funding decreases. In NYC alone, public housing faces a backlog of over $17B in needed repairs.
- Section 8 funded at levels to renew all existing vouchers, providing housing stability to more than 125,000 households.
- A 10% increase in Community Development Block Grants, which serve a variety of community development needs in NYC, including enforcing the housing code to ensure a decent standard of living for all New Yorkers.
- A nearly 43% increase in HOME Investment Partnerships, which NYC uses to fund the creation of supportive housing, down payment assistance for first time homebuyers and tenant based rental assistance for homeless families.
Additionally, there are policy provisions included that will add greater flexibility to affordable and public housing programs.
- A provision that expands the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program from 225,000 units to 455,000 units and the sunset date is extended to 2024.
- A provision allowing HUD 202 elderly properties to utilize the RAD program for preservation.
- A provision that extends the sunset date for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2018 to 2020
Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
Provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act were included in the bill as well, including additional resources and policy provisions.
- An increase of 12.5% in 9% Housing Credits, translating to an estimated $20M annually in additional affordable housing financing for New York City.
- Income Averaging is now allowed in the Housing Credit program, which means units can now serve families earning up to 80% Area Median Income, as long as the average income served in the property is at 60% AMI. This will allow greater flexibility in the populations we are able to serve, will increase economic diversity in the Housing Credit program, and allow us to cross subsidize within properties to reach deeper levels of affordability with less subsidy.