Last week, Congressional leaders came to a grand agreement on a FY 2018 Omnibus $1.3 trillion dollar spending package that is a big win for affordable housing industry. It was quickly passed by both Houses and the President signed it into law on Friday. This spending bill provides the most significant re-investment in affordable housing funding since the sequester caps were put in place in 2011. Also, we are thrilled that the Omnibus adopted two key LIHTC amendments: Income Averaging and an allocation increase, both of which we have been fiercely advocating for over the past two years.
HUD BUDGET INCREASE
New York State will receive almost $300 million in additional funding for the following HUD programs compared to FY 2017 enacted levels according to rough estimates provided by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
- $211 million in Public Housing funding (16% increase)
- $160M for NYCHA capital increase
- $30M for NYCHA operating increase
- $39 million in HOME funding (43% increase)
- $29 million in CDBG funding (10% increase)
- Full Section 8 renewal funding with the potential for new vouchers (awaiting HPD & HDC vouchers estimates for statewide impact).
- ~5200 new vouchers funded in NYCHA’s Section 8 program
- $211 million in Public Housing funding (16% increase)
With increases in other HUD programs such as Lead Hazard Reduction, 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities plus additional supplement Section 8 vouchers, we expect even more housing resources will come to NY as a result of this bill. We will report on full state impact as we receive estimates from housing agencies and a better understanding of how HUD will distribute supplemental vouchers.
Here are some additional important HUD and USDA funding highlights:
- The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) cap is raised to 455,000 units from 225,000 units, which is especially helpful for projects on the RAD waitlist.
- RAD authority is also extended to the Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) inventory, allowing roughly 120,000 units of senior housing to be preserved. This has been one of our policy priorities as it will greatly benefit senior housing in New York.
- Family Unification Vouchers is funded at $20 million, $10 million more than FY17 enacted levels, which will go to support new vouchers.
- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) is funded at $40 million, level funding with FY17. This allocation will go to fund new vouchers.
- Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program is funded at $678 million, $176 million above the FY17 enacted level. This is enough to renew all existing contracts and provide $105 million in new capital funding and project-based rental assistance awards. New 202 projects have not been funded in years. This is a priority for Secretary Carson.
- Section 811 Supportive Housing for Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program is funded at $230 million, $83 million above the enacted level. $82.6 million of which would go to new capital funding and project rental assistance awards (another priority for the Secretary).
- Homeless Assistance Grants are funded at $2.513 billion, $130 million above FY17 level.
- Section 4 Capacity Building Program is funded at $35 million, level with FY17.
- Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Program is funded at $150 million, $12.5 million more than FY17.
- Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program is funded at $10 million, level with FY17.
- Lead hazard reduction grants are funded at $230 million, $85 million above the FY17 enacted levels, which is a significant expansion of the program (a priority for the HUD Secretary).
- Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks) is funded at $140 million, level with FY17.
- USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance is funded at $1.345 billion, $60 million less than FY17, which USDA estimates is still sufficient to fully renew all vouchers.
- USDA Section 515 Rental Housing Direct Loans are funded at $40 million, $35 million more than FY17.
For a complete breakdown of the HUD funding by program, please see NLIHC’s budget chart.
IMPACT OF LIHTC AMENDMENTS
Affordable housing advocates have been fighting hard to strengthen the tax credit and make it more flexible with an allocation increase and Income Averaging in addition to other provisions under Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act (S.548). We are excited to see at least of these two important LIHTC provisions were able to be formally adopted in the Omnibus package.
- LIHTC Income Averaging– Income Averaging will allow for greater income diversity and deeper affordability in LIHTC-funded projects and support development in high cost areas as well as rural low-income areas.
- Temporary 12.5% LIHTC Allocation Increase will result in a $55 million increase in estimated equity value allowing for the development of an additional 279 affordable housing units in NY annually. The 4-year 12.5 percent increase in LIHTC allocations starting in 2018 and lasting until 2021 will yield $3 billion nationwide in the development and preservation of additional affordable housing units. Novogradac estimates that national production will increase by approximately 28,400 affordable rental homes over 10 years compared to current law, but unfortunately this gain only accounts for 8% of the national 235,000 units lost due to tax reform’s lowered corporate tax rate. There is still more to work to do in the future to rectify the entirety of this loss.
National and NY affordable housing advocates should celebrate this hard-fought victory, but we must also use this great momentum to reinvigorate our efforts to protect and increase FY 2019 HUD funding levels and to advance affordable housing policy to address our nation’s housing crisis!