Obama Increases HUD Budget And Restores Funding for Key Housing Programs

Washington, D.C.–With a total allocation of $47.5 billion for the housing sector, the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget restores and increases funding for many key U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs. In addition, the economic stimulus law already provides an additional $13.6 billion. These sums compare to the projected 2009 HUD budget of $40.1 billion.The budget fully funds the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, while reforming the CDBG formula to better target distressed communities and promote the development of “Sustainable Communities.” It also increases funding for the Housing Choice Voucher program and the project-based rental assistance program, and creates a new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and Energy Innovation Fund. In light of the current housing crisis, the budget provides initial funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund created last summer, as well as strengthens efforts to combat mortgage fraud and predatory lending. In addition, the HUD budget aims to eliminate funding for ineffective and duplicative programs like the Section 108 Community Development Loan Guarantees program and the American Dream Down-payment Initiative.HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed satisfaction over the budget. He said, “In tough fiscal times, we will be given the resources and flexibility to put this agency back on track:  to be a resource for homeowners who are trying to buy or refinance their homes; to be a catalyst for the production and preservation of affordable rental housing, thru new vehicles like the affordable housing trust fund; to give HUD the tools to combat mortgage fraud and predatory loans; to make energy efficiency and sustainable development a significant part of housing policy; and, to support and enhance programs and policies such as vouchers and community development block grants that play an important role in the lives of low-income families and communities.”Donovan also said that the agency has been charged to change the way it does business. “It needs to become more transparent and accountable; to ensure that we subject all our activities to rigorous evaluation so we can support what works and modify what doesn’t; and, to become the best partner we can be with the states and localities and private-sector firms and nonprofits that do the real work on housing,” Donavan explained.