The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies has offered its fiscal 2013 budget proposal that increases funding for rental assistance and homeless assistance grants.

However, many affordable housing developers and advocates will be disappointed to see that support for the HOME program remained flat at $1 billion. They have been hoping to see HOME receive additional funding after deep cuts to the program last year.

Overall, the $53.4 billion plan is about $2 billion below the 2012 allocation.

Key points of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spending plan include:

  • Project-based rental assistance: $9.8 billion for the project-based Sec. 8 program is proposed, including more than $9.6 billion for the renewal of all project-based contracts for a full 12 months. This is $536 million above the fiscal 2012 level. It is worth noting that this is about $1.1 billion more than what was requested in the White House plan, which proposed providing less than 12 months of funding upfront on many contracts that straddle fiscal years. The Subcommittee did not back this idea to the relief of housing advocates, who have called the move a “gimmick.”
  • Sec. 8 tenant-based rental assistance: $19.4 billion for housing choice vouchers is proposed, $482 million above the 2012 enacted level. This includes $17.5 billion for the renewal of current housing choice vouchers and $1.58 billion for program administration; $75 million for 10,000 new HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for homeless veterans and $60 million for the family self-sufficiency program.
  • Homeless Assistance Grants: $2.15 billion is proposed, $245 million above the 2012 level. The Subcommittee said that in response to an increase in family homelessness, the bill includes at least $286 million for the Emergency Solutions Grant program.
  • Community Development Block Grants: $3.1 billion is planned, a $152 million increase from 2012.
  • Public housing: $1.99 billion for the public housing capital fund, an increase of $110 million from last year.
  • Sustainable Communities Initiative: $50 million within HUD’s Community Development Fund for the Sustainable Communities Initiative to promote integrated housing and transportation planning. HUD is joined in this initiative by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Choice Neighborhoods: $120 million is proposed, keeping the funding level with 2012.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislative proposals in the HUD fiscal 2013 budget on Thursday, April 26.