Press Releases

Waters Leads Call to Increase FY 2019 Funding for Federal Housing Programs

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Washington, DC, March 26, 2018 | comments

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, led four separate letters to Congressional appropriators highlighting the importance of federal housing programs that serve the country’s most vulnerable populations.

In the letters, Ranking Member Waters urged her colleagues to increase funding for the following rental and homeless assistance programs during the federal appropriations process for fiscal year 2019.

HUD’s McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
Waters called on appropriators to make addressing homelessness a top priority by fully funding the existing McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants contracts in FY 2019. She also asked for an additional $5 billion in emergency spending for the program to address increases in homelessness across America’s major metropolitan areas.

“Several communities have experienced such serious increases in their homeless populations that they have gone so far as to declare that homelessness has reached a state of emergency,” Ranking Member Waters wrote in the letter. “The federal government must recognize the crisis at hand and support these communities in their efforts to aid the homeless.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Rental Assistance Programs
Waters and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, were joined by 44 colleagues in requesting additional funding for HUD housing programs that serve low-income families, seniors and persons with disabilities. This includes providing robust funding for public housing, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs, and the Section 202 and Section 811 programs.

“Since the 1930s, public housing has served an indispensable role on the continuum of affordable housing, providing housing for 1.1 million families (over 2 million people), including seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities, and families with children,” the lawmakers wrote. “It serves a population of “hard to house” people who face challenges that often make it impossible for them to rent a unit in the private market. It is well documented that investing in public housing not only provides necessary improvements for public housing residents, but also results in substantial economic benefits to the surrounding community.”

Additionally, the Members highlighted their grave concerns regarding the funding cuts proposed by the Trump Administration.

“Increasing rent burdens or cutting housing benefits in other ways could have a devastating impact on HUD’s ability to serve our nation’s most vulnerable households, and they run contrary to the statutory mission of HUD,” the lawmakers wrote.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Rural Housing Programs
Waters and Cleaver also led a request, signed by 23 of their colleagues, for increased funding and programmatic changes to rural housing programs under the Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the Rural Development Voucher Program, Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loans, and Section 514 Farm Labor Housing Loans, and the Multifamily Preservation & Revitalization Demonstration.

The changes to rural housing programs “will help protect vulnerable tenants by ensuring that vouchers and other resources are available, and invest in the preservation of aging Section 515 and 514 properties,” the lawmakers wrote.

The full text can be found here.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
Ranking Member Waters co-led a letter with five of her colleagues, requesting at least $3.3 billion in funding for HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The letter was signed by 182 Members of Congress and highlighted the program’s track record of success, including benefits to over 139 million low- and moderate-income individuals through employment training, meals to the elderly and other important public services.

“Every State, Territory, and Congressional District receives or has access to CDBG funds,” the lawmakers wrote. “The pressing need in the current economy for these funds remains critical.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

In addition to leading efforts around the call for increased funding, the Ranking Member supported a number of other funding requests for HUD programs including: HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), HOME Investment Partnerships, fair housing programs, Native American and Native Hawaiian programs, housing counseling and foreclosure mitigation programs, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). Many of these programs are proposed to be eliminated in the Trump Administration’s FY19 budget request.



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Tags: HUD



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