On Tuesday, June 23, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) proposed to fund the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) for FY16 at just $66 million, only 7 percent of the FY15 amount ($900 million). Such a drastic cut will result in long-term consequences. While NRHC is aware that the country is facing budget constraints, we implore members of Congress to work together to develop a budget that will restore the HOME program.
Authorized in 1990, the HOME program is a locally-driven block grant program that is vitally important to improving the quality of life of rural Americans. Since 1992, the HOME program has created more than one million affordable homes. State and local governments have used HOME funds to produce 495,609 home buyer homes, 466,861 rental homes, and 231,928 rehabilitated owner-occupied homes. Additionally, 298,391 families have received tenant-based rental assistance through the HOME program.
The HOME program provides grants to state and local governments, which use the funds to directly benefit the low and very-low income families in rural communities across the nation. HOME funds are used to provide tenant-based rental assistance; housing rehabilitation; assistance to home buyers; and new construction of housing. For example, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) makes funding available to nonprofit developers, for-profit developers and Community Housing Development Organizations to provide zero interest (3 percent for for-profit developers) through the HOME Homeownership Program. The Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) worked with the city government in Beattyville, Kentucky to construct two affordable rental duplexes utilizing HOME funds. The duplexes were occupied one month after completion, and rented for $358 per month to families with incomes below 80 percent of AMI. For more HOME program success stories, please visit our fact page.
Continuation of the HOME program is especially crucial now, given the current state of America’s housing. In the United States, 15.6 percent of all households, were severely housing cost-burdened. A little more than 13 percent of all rural households are extremely cost burdened, meaning that they spend 50 percent or more of their monthly income on housing costs. Almost 40 percent of cost burdened rural households are renters. Nearly one-third of rural renters have incomes below the poverty level, and nearly 6 percent of homes in rural communities are considered moderately or severely substandard.
If funding for the HOME program is reduced to $66 million in FY 16, compared to the President’s budget request of $1.06 billion, there would be a loss of an estimated 38,665 affordable housing units and 8,813 families assisted with HOME tenant-based rental assistance. This would equal a loss of:
- 16,045 units of affordable housing for new home buyers;
- 15,099 units of newly constructed and rehabilitated affordable rental units;
- 7,521 units of owner-occupied rehabilitation for low-income homeowners; and
- 8,813 low-income households assisted with HOME tenant-based rental assistance.
The impact of this severe cut to the HOME program will be felt by communities all across America. The Full Appropriations Committee markup is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, 2015. NRHC urges members of Congress to restore funding to the HOME program.
For general information on the HOME program, please click here.