Bush Seeks $38.5B for HUD Budget

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C–The Bush Administration is seeking a budget of $38.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the year 2009. This represents a $3.2 billion or nine percent increase over the President’s proposed budget for FY 2008 and $1 billion more than HUD’s current budget authority.In revealing details of the proposed spending blueprint, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson noted that the 2009 budget includes significant increases for housing counseling, homeless assistance and affordable housing programs.“This budget demonstrates President Bush’s commitment to protecting homeownership by helping families facing foreclosure, while recognizing the need for more affordable rental housing,” says Jackson.The 2009 budget seeks a record $1.636 billion to support thousands of local homeless programs and $29.4 billion for rental assistance for low-income families.To combat the challenge of foreclosures, the President is asking for $65 million for housing counseling, a $15 million increase over 2008.In addition, the FY 2009 budget includes increases to several programs that advance the President’s goal of creating and preserving an ownership society. For instance, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is undergoing a transformation to give homebuyers who do not qualify for prime financing a better alternative to high-cost, high-risk loan products. The Administration is also proposing $2 billion for the HOME program in FY 2009. HOME is the largest federal block grant program dedicated to creating affordable housing for low-income families.