Lets get to the meat of it. Sunday we got word that a FY2017 Omnibus spending bill agreement was forming up. What the hell does that mean? A spending bill would set our public housing funding until September 31st of this year. Secondly, it allows us to plan for the rest of the fiscal year with some certainty. Lets see what the affordable housing advocates are saying.
- NAHRO- Overall the team at NAHRO seems confident that the House, Senate and the President will sign off. The big take away is that it would be around a 1% increase over the 2016FY funding levels for HUD. Not optimal but hey, its better than a 16% cut right?
- PH Operating Fund- Would see a reduction of about $100 million. Not good.
- PH Capital Fund will see around a $41 million increase- ok.
- Section 8 tenant based will increase by $663 million- not bad
- FSS- Same funding levels as 2016
- RAD- No new funds but program extended until 2020 and the number of units expanded. Go to NAHRO’s blog by clicking here
- National Low Income Housing Coalition: NLIHC does a nice job here explaining the proposed budget and gives a little more background than NAHRO did on the politics behind the funding bill. If you want more detail and information on smaller housing programs like Rural housing, healthy homes, fair housing and a few more items, give this a click
Although public housing authorities need higher levels of funding, the news could have been worse. It seems like the White House was willing to negotiate and that willingness to do so is at the minimum OK news for agencies across the USA. See Bloomberg for more in depth coverage on the spending bill
My biggest question right now revolves around how the Republicans, the strong conservatives and the White House will handle the 2018 spending bill. Is Trump actually a reasonable negotiator that talks big but is willing to come to a deal? Is he holding back until the 2018 bill? Will conservatives force his hand? Only time will tell. For now, I am sure public housing authorities are still planning for cuts in 2018. Lets hope that cooler heads and a willingness to make common sense good deals plays out like our current spending bill.