Movement into the second half of the first session of the 112th Congress brings several issues to the forefront when dealing with rural affordable housing. There are major changes in funding that will impact Fiscal Year 2012’s Rural Development Budget. The following issues, as stated by the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH), will have to be resolved by the U.S. Senate:
1) Rental Assistance: The Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) Program would be cut to $906.5 million, almost $73 million less than the FY 2010 level and almost $50 million less than the FY 2011 level.
The Rental Assistance Program, provided by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants with privately owned subsidized housing. They also provide public housing with affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The Housing Choice Voucher Program under Section 8 authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords with low-income housing.
The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) recommends funding of at least $965 million or the FY 2011 level.
2) Multi-Family Housing Revitalization Program (MPR): The Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget eliminates the Multi-Family Housing Revitalization Program (MPR), Rural Development’s primary preservation program. This would essentially eliminate any organized preservation program at Rural Development. The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) recommends a program level of at least $25 million, the FY 2011 program level.
3) Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program: The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal would also eliminate funding for the Section 538 program.
The Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program (GRRHP) was established to increase the supply of moderately-priced housing in rural areas; ensure that housing is affordable to low- and moderate-income rural residents whose incomes are 115 percent of area median income (AMI) or less; provide housing that is decent, safe, sanitary, and competitive in the market; and foster risk-sharing partnerships with public and private lenders. Under the program, the Agency will provide credit enhancements to encourage private and public lenders to make new loans for affordable rental properties that meet program standards.
The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) believes that the program can be made revenue neutral by having an upfront fee of 1% and up to .50% annual fee of outstanding principal the fee level that existed prior to 2009. These fees would allow for a program level of at least $129 million.
4) Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Funding Issues: The House Transportation- Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Subcommittee will determine the amount of funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) is concerned about funding for the HOME program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which finances numerous affordable housing developments.
The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) believes that funding for this program should continue at least at the 2012 proposed level of $1.650 billion.
A date for the U.S. Senate to begin consideration of the various appropriations bills has not yet been set. Once the Senate passes its version of a budget resolution the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will be able to begin consideration of the various appropriations bills.
The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) urges you to contact your individual Senators to assist in increasing funding for these programs.