National Rural Housing Coalition Budget Bulletin

Volume 14, Number 9                                                                               May 13, 2011

House Sets Timetable for Appropriations Action 

On May 10, the House Appropriations Committee released a schedule for Committee and floor consideration and allocations for all subcommittees for Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations.

The schedule: Agriculture will have subcommittee consideration on May 24, full Committee on May 31 and will be on the floor in June.

The Money: Picking up where last month’s deal on the CR left off, the House Appropriations Committee proposes another $45.7 billion from domestic spending and foreign aid next year. Agriculture is down -$2.6 billion from FY 11 and -$5 billion from the budget request but those numbers mask about $1.9 billion in mostly one time savings gained from the farm bill programs on the FY 11 bill. So, there is a big reduction in the topline number for USDA. The Appropriations Committee table for FY 12 is here.

What You Can Do: Rural Housing Call-In Day

On Wednesday, May 17th NRHC is urging its members to call their Representative on FY 12 rural housing budget. Ask your Representative to contact the Appropriations Committee and the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to indicate support for a freeze in appropriations for rural housing programs. This is the level enacted last month in the FY 11 Full Year Continuing Resolution (HR1473). A table on FY 11  rural housing appropriations is here.

  • $1.1 billion in direct homeownership loans;
  • $37 million for self help housing;
  • $69 million in rural rental housing loans;
  • $27 million for farm labor housing;
  • $44 million for rental housing preservation; and
  • $58 million in home repair loans and grants.

Key Points:

These programs provide tremendous benefit to smaller rural communities that have the fewest options for affordable housing. Of particular concern is Administration’s proposal to all but eliminate the section 502 direct loan and eliminate the Mutual Self Help Housing program.  These programs constitute the backbone of the rural housing programs and are principal affordable housing resource for rural America.  Section 502 loans are very cost efficient, with a  projected cost only about $5,000 per loan in FY 12. Self help housing allows family to gain equity in their own home by working nights and weekends to provide 65% of the labor necessary to build their home. Continuing these programs is essential. . 

Be sure to tell your representative that while federal spending on other programs has grown, that is not the case for rural housing loans and grants.  Federal spending on rural housing loan and grant programs has dropped over recent years.  In Fiscal 2003, budget authority devoted to rural housing totaled $342 million. If Congress continues rural housing programs at the FY 11 rate, the cost to the federal government will be half the amount spent in 2003.

You can reach your Representative by calling the switchboard at the Capitol: 202-224-3121.

There is additional information on rural housing issues at our website ruralhousingcoalition.org.

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