Senate Appropriations Committee approves $55B housing, transportation bill

Housing allocated $2B more than FY2015, $3B less than White House wanted

The Senate Committee on Appropriations today approved the FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, making the $55.65 billion measure available for consideration by the Senate.

The bill, approved 20-10, includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. 

Working within the framework of the Budget Control Act, the bill provides funding for federal housing programs and transportation projects.

“Through negotiation and compromise, this bipartisan bill makes smart investments in our nation’s infrastructure, helps meet the housing needs of the most vulnerable among us, and provides funding for economic development projects in our communities,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “From rental assistance for low-income families to safety-related provisions for our transportation infrastructure, the many critical programs funded by this bill were balanced to fund the wide range of operations that play a crucial role in reinvigorating our economy.”

The legislation includes a total of $37.56 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an increase of nearly $2 billion above the FY2015 enacted level and $3 billion below the request.

Other housing-related highlights in the bill include:

  • Community Planning and Development – $5.6 billion, $1.1 billion below the FY2015 enacted level, for Community Planning and Development programs.  The Community Development Block Grant formula program is funded at $2.9 billion and the Homeless Assistance Grants are funded at $2.2 billion.  The bill contains $330 million for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program and ensures that funds are better targeted to communities with the highest burden of HIV cases by preventing HUD from counting deceased individuals when determining formula allocations for grantees. 
  • Emphasis on Youth Homelessness – The bill includes several provisions to expand and improve the delivery of HUD housing and services for homeless youth, including $20 million to support more than 2,500 new family unification vouchers to prevent youth exiting foster care from becoming homeless.  An additional $40 million is provided to test comprehensive efforts to end youth homelessness in urban and rural areas. 
  • Moving-to-Work Expansion – The bill permits an additional 300 public housing agencies to participate in the program, which will enable innovative approaches to reduce the cost of housing assistance, improve program efficiency, and promote family self-sufficiency.
  • Section 8 and Public Housing – $27 billion for Public and Indian Housing, $600 million increase above the FY2015 enacted level and $1.7 billion below the budget request.  This funding will continue assistance to all families and individuals currently served by these programs.
  • Preserving Rental Assistance – Other assisted-housing programs within the bill are funded at $11.46 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion above the FY 2015 enacted level.  The bulk of this increase is needed to provide a full year of funding on all project-based rental assistance contracts and continue assistance to all those currently served by these programs.  Included in this amount is $420 million in new funding for Housing for the Elderly, which is equal to the FY2015 enacted level, and $137 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities, an increase of $2 million above the FY2015 enacted level. 

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