Both Senate and House passed an omnibus appropriations bill addressing domestic housing and community development programs. HUD’s HOME program took a hit, from 1,000 million in FY 14 to 900 million in FY 15 and CDBG a hit as well from $3.1 million in FY14 to $3.066 million in FY15. Housing Counseling bumped up from $45 million to $47 million in FY 15
According to the NRHC Budget Bulletin,
“Overall, most Rural Housing programs fared quite well, especially compared to USDA’s proposed budget. Section 502 Direct Loans were funded at $900 million, or 150% greater than the $360 million proposed by USDA. This is an particularly good outcome considering that the subsidy rate for Section 502 Direct Loans increased between FY14 and FY15 and therefore, additional Budget Authority ($40 million) was needed to keep program levels steady. … In addition, Water/Sewer programs were funded at $464.9 million in total Budget Authority, or more than $160 million greater than USDA’s proposed $304 million level.
Other programs saw a freeze in funding from FY14 rates, including Section 502 Guaranteed Loans, Section 504 Home Repair Loans and Grants, Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants, Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loans, Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants, Section 538 Rental Housing Guaranteed Loans, and Community Faciliites Direct Loans.
Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance programs were funded at $1.089 billion–matching USDA’s requested amount. However, the Appropriations bill did not include any of the policy changes proposed by USDA for this account, including minimum rents, less-than-1-year contracts, wage matching, and selective renewals.
The MPR program, however, was set at $24 million, compared to $32.6 million in FY14 and $28 million in USDA’s propsoed budget.
The Appropriations bill also includes legislative language regarding the Section 502 Intermediaries Pilot Program. Section 729 requires USDA to continue the pilot program, add additional intermediaries, provide priority processing, and set aside funds from its national reserve. It states, “The Secretary shall continue agreements with current intermediary organizations and not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act enter into additional agreements that increase the number of participating intermediary organizations to not less than 10. The Secretary shall work with these organizations to increase the effectiveness of the Section 502 Single Family Direct Loan Program in rural communities and shall set aside and make available from the national reserve Section 502 loan an amount necessary to support the work of such intermediaries and provide a priority for review of such loans.”