President Clinton’s fiscal year 2001 (FY01) budget request submitted to Congress February 7 seeks increases for HUD programs in general. In a recent Memo to Members, National Low Income Housing Coalition President Sheila Crowley says housing advocates have reason to feel upbeat about the position from which we are starting this year.
Besides more money, Crowley says, the budget incorporates good policy proposals that recognize the need for permanent support for permanent housing programs, such as the transfer of the Shelter Plus Care program out of Homeless Assistance into the mainstream Section 8 program. The request also renews all Section 8 contracts and continues the $4.2 billion advance-appropriation authorized by Congress in 1999.
On the voucher front, the proposal includes 120,000 new vouchers in total and a $50 million voucher success fund for housing authorities to help families with mobility counseling, to assist with security deposits, and to provide technical assistance and outreach to landlords. Significantly, a proposed new production program for low-income housing would allocate 10,000 vouchers to states along with their Low Income Housing Tax Credits to encourage construction of new units for extremely low-income renters. Also included are 18,000 new rental assistance vouchers for the homeless, along with an increase in homeless assistance from $1.02 billion to $1.2 billion.
Of $625 million requested for HOPE VI, the budget sets aside $180 million for mandatory conversions of public housing to tenant-based assistance. The mandatory conversion law authorized by the 1998 public housing reform bill is expected to have a growing impact on the status of public housing in the coming years.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program would receive a $119 million increase over last year to $4.9 billion The CDBG proposal also includes a new $20 million initiative to assist community-based nonprofit organizations.
More information about increases to HUD programs is available online at www.nlihc.org.
From Linda Couch , National Low Income Housing Coalition.
CRA Hearings Expected
Press reports of a February 2 meeting closed to the public reveal that Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm (R-TX) is as committed as ever to opposing the Community Reinvestment Act. New CRA regulations from last year’s bank modernization bill [See Shelterforce # 108] had been expected soon, but disagreements on their content have delayed this process. According to an article in The American Banker, “Senator Gramm said he would scrutinize implementation of the CRA-related requirements in the  reform law and conduct hearings about community group protests of bank merger applications that focus on the applicants’ CRA compliance.”
From the National Low Income Housing Coalition.