Washington, D.C.–Now that the long-delayed fiscal 2011 federal budget has been settled by Congress, the impact on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can be quantified. There are winners and losers among HUD’s programs–or maybe more precisely, survivors and those suffering deep cuts. Less clear is what shape the fiscal 2012 budget will take for HUD, since the president’s requested budget is on the table, but the House of Representatives probably isn’t in the mood to give the administration much of what it wants.
The entire HUD budget for tenant-based rental assistance didn’t lose any ground in fiscal 2011. In fact, the allocation for that major HUD function was $18.37 billion for this year, compared with fiscal 2010’s total of $18.18 billion. President Obama had asked for $19.55 billion for that purpose in fiscal 2011, and has asked for $19.22 billion for fiscal 2012.
Community Development Block Grants, one of HUD’s longest-running programs, was funded at $4.45 billion for fiscal 2010, but the House of Representatives was gunning for the program this year, and initially approved $1.5 billion for CDBG in its budget, passed in February. The final fiscal 2011 budget, however, ended up with $3.5 billion in block grants–a significant loss for the program, but not the implosion that might have happened. For next year, the president has proposed increasing funding for CDBGs to about $3.8 billion.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which involves the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and HUD in promoting planning and infrastructure investment, received $100 million in the 2011 budget. That’s down from $150 million the year before, but much more than zero. In the final 2011 total, $70 million will go for regional planning grants and $30 million for Community Challenge planning grants.
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program, which had been funded to the tune of $75 million in fiscal 2010, was cut by a third in fiscal 2011. The goal of the program is to provide homeless veterans, most of whom have physical or mental disabilities, vouchers to find housing. The president has requested a return to 2010 levels of funding for fiscal 2012.
HUD’s Housing Counseling Assistance Program had a budget of $88 million last year; for fiscal 2011, that number was lowered to zero. The program paid HUD-approved counselors to work with first-time homebuyers, elderly homeowners considering a reverse mortgage, and borrowers close to foreclosure to help them make better decisions regarding their housing. The proposed budget for fiscal 2012 restores the previous funding level for this program.