Friday, February 13, 2009

Economic Stimulus and Homelessness

Some Benefit for Homeless People

Summary of the Housing Provisions in Recovery Conference Agreement from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Congress Agrees to Stimulus Compromise; Votes on Friday
Some details of the House and Senate conference agreement on the economic stimulus bill were released this afternoon.
Appropriations for HUD programs in the conference agreement are as follows:

  • $4 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund (House and Senate had both passed $5 billion in their versions).
  • $2.25 billion for 12-month renewals of the project-based Section 8 rental assistance program, with $250 million of this going toward energy retrofitting and green housing (had been $2.5 billion in the House bill, $2.25 billion in the Senate package).
  • $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to redevelop foreclosed and abandoned homes ($4.19 billion in the House, $0 in the Senate).
  • $1.5 billion for homeless prevention through the Emergency Shelter Grant program (the same as in the House and Senate-passed versions). [This is about the size of current Continuum of Care--so this could mean a doubling of existing funds or $12-$18 million for Cuyahoga County.]
  • $2.25 billion to fund HOME, with $2 billion of this to fill gaps in approved Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects and jump start these stalled projects ($1.5 billion was in the House bill just for HOME, without the LIHTC provision; $2.25 billion was in the Senate bill, with $2 billion for LIHTC gap fix).
  • $1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program (House had $1 billion; Senate had no CDBG funds).
  • $100 million for lead paint reduction (same in both the House and Senate bills).
  • $10 million in Native American Block Grants (had been $500 million in the House; $510 million in the Senate).
Low Income Housing Tax Credits:
Details of the tax provisions have not been released but it is our understanding that, in addition to the $2 billion for LIHTC gap financing mentioned above, the conference agreement will include the House's proposal to allow housing credit allocating agencies to receive up to 40% of their 2009 credits as cash and use this to fill financing gaps from approved but stalled projects. It is NLIHC's understanding that the Senate bill's acceleration provision is not in the conference agreement.
Homeownership Tax Credit
It is NLIHC's understanding that the Senate's $35 billion homeownership tax credit has been significantly scaled back in the conference report. It appears that the conference agreement would amend the current $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit to repeal the current tax credit's requirement that it be repaid to the federal government. The benefits of the current tax credit, available to people who have not owned a home during the last three years, phase out for higher income households.
Other Programs
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program within the Federal Emergency Management Agency will receive $100 million in the conference agreement.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program receives nothing (the House had funded it, the Senate did not).
The Social Services Block Grant program will receive nothing (the Senate had funded it, the House did not).
The Census Bureau will receive $1 billion.
What is Not in The Conference Agreement:
The final compromise does not include revenue for the National Housing Trust Fund, nor does it allocate funding for 400,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers. The funding for housing programs fell tremendously short of what advocates had sought.

Thanks to staff at the National Low Income Housing Coalition for keeping those in the field updated about this difficult to follow bill. If you are not a member of the NLIHC and you care about federal housing and homeless policy, we recommend taking a few minutes to sign up as a member of this critical national housing advocacy leader.

Brian Davis
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

1 comment:

pete domanovic said...

ahh, what the hell?