The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would receive $47.6 billion in gross discretionary spending under President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal.
The plan, a roughly 7 percent increase from 2012 levels, includes $75 million to assist 10,000 more homeless veterans under the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a call with reporters.
The new vouchers would be in addition to the 48,000 that are being used by vets, he said. However, cuts to public housing agencies have hampered the ability of many housing authorities to deploy the program.
Donovan said several local housing authorities have turned down the vouchers because they lacked the funding to administer the program.
Others may follow in the wake of sequestration cuts. Although programs directly serving veterans are exempt from sequestration, the problem is that the local agencies don't have the resources to run the program.
"It's a shame when we have so much momentum on the VASH program," Donovan said.
While there is an increase in the department's gross discretionary budget, Donovan noted that the net budget of $33.1 billion is about a 12 percent decline from recent levels.
One of the goals of the budget is to ensure the strength of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), according to officials.
Although the administration projects the possibility of FHA needing a $943 million bailout, Donovan said a number of steps have been taken to stabilize its finances, including increasing recoveries on troubled loans, tightening down on reverse mortgages, and increasing premiums.
In fiscal 2014, HUD is requesting $400 billion in loan guarantee authority for FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which will provide 1.2 million single-family mortgages. In addition, $30 billion is requested in loan guarantee authority for the General and Special Risk Insurance Fund, which will provide an estimated 156,000 units in multifamily housing properties and 80,600 beds in health-care facilities.
The administration also calls the National Housing Trust Fund to be funded with $1 billion as a mandatory budget authority.
Other budget proposal highlights include:
- $400 million for Choice Neighborhoods, a big $280 million increase from the 2012 enacted budget. A portion would be targeted to designated Promise Zones, high-poverty communities where the federal government will work with local leaders to invest in job creation and increase economic activity;
- $2.4 billion for homeless assistance grants, $480 million above the 2012 level;
- $19.989 billion in tenant-based rental assistance, an increase from $18.914 billion in 2012, and $10.272 billion in project-based rental assistance, an increase from $9.34 billion;
- $2.798 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, down from a recent $2.948 billion;
- $950 million for the HOME program, down from a recent $1 billion; and
- $526 million for the Sec. 202 and Sec. 811 programs, $14 million below 2012 enacted levels.