President Obama is proposing a significant funding increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in his fiscal 2016 budget proposal.
The department would receive $49.3 billion under his request, a $4 billion, or 8.7%, jump above current levels.
“We think this request really helps us continue our progress toward all of our goals, starting with providing housing support to millions of low-income American,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti in a call with reporters.
The percentage increase proposed for housing is higher than several other areas. For example, a 5% increase is sought for education and a 4% increase is sought for defense spending. The Environmental Protection Agency would see a 9% budget hike.
The HUD budget request seeks $21.1 billion for the Sec. 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, an increase of $1.82 billion from the fiscal 2015 enacted level. HUD says this funding will provide approximately 2.4 million very low-income families with decent and safe housing. In addition to supporting all existing vouchers, the budget provides funding to restore 67,000 vouchers lost to sequestration in 2013.
The budget proposal also includes $10.8 billion for project-based rental assistance, which supports 12 months of funding for rental assistance contracts with private owners who maintain affordable rental housing for 1.2 million families, and $6.6 billion in operating and capital subsidies to preserve affordable public housing for 1.1 million families.
Ending homelessness continues to be a major focus for the administration. The spending plan proposes $2.5 billion for the Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grant program to prevent and end homelessness. This is an increase of $345 million above current funding levels and an additional 25,500 new permanent supportive housing units.
The budget request also seeks a big boost for the Choice Neighborhoods Program. The Obama administration is seeking $250 million for the program, a $170 million increase above the 2015 enacted level.
It is also notable that the HOME program is proposed to receive $1.06 billion, of which $10 million would be set aside for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program. For HOME, the request is $150 million more than the 2015 enacted level.
However, not all programs would receive an increase. The popular Community Development Block Grant program would receive a cut. It is proposed to receive $2.8 billion, down from $3 billion in 2015.