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Congress Shifts HUD Spending To Section 8

       The House of Representatives has proven that it is serious about cutting federal spending with its work last summer on 13 appropriations bills that set annual funding levels for a host of federal programs. In accordance with the house budget resolution, which committed to make massive cuts in social welfare and housing programs earlier last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be a big loser in this year's scramble for federal appropriations.

The House completed its work on the HUD, Veterans Affairs and Independent Agencies appropriations bill; The Senate is now considering the same legislation. Overall, the House has proposed to fund HUD at $19.4 billion in fiscal year 1996, $6.1 billion less than the previous year and $4.9 billion less than President Clinton requested.

Specific funding proposals include:

  • Maintaining the current funding levels for the HOME and CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) programs; 1.4 billion for HOME and $4.6 billion for CDBG.
  • Combining the elderly and disabled housing programs together with HOPWA (Housing Assistance for persons with AIDS), to create a single special needs housing program. This new program would receive $1.4 billion for 1996.
  • Providing $676 million for homeless assistance grants, in addition to $297 million that was deferred from fiscal year 1995 as part of Congressional initiated rescissions legislation. Homeless funding faces a nearly 50 percent reduction in funding.
  • Creating a $862 million Section 8 replacement assistance fund to offer an additional 76,294 vouchers to residents of public housing seeking to relocate in privately operated rental housing. Funding for this new account would replace some public housing operating subsidies and modernization funds.
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