The 2018 budget signed last week brings some good news: a $2.513 billion investment in U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homeless Assistance Grants — an increase of $130 million over last year. Other highlights include:

  • Increased capacity — focused on domestic violence survivors and young people — that will help communities house an estimated additional 25,000 people
  • Section 8 renewals that are fully funded and new resources available to provide approximately 60,000 new vouchers for vulnerable Americans
  • New funding for HUD to build and rehabilitate affordable housing, including a 12.5% increase in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

There are many factors that influence each year’s budget, but one thing is certain: this kind of investment is not possible without the active participation of committed advocates around the nation. Your voices made a difference!

Congress has now passed (and the president signed) a final government funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018. It includes plenty of good news for people working to end homelessness. This bill implements the budget deal that was passed several weeks ago, making substantial new funding available for federal programs.

This analysis will focus on funding changes for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since HUD’s anti-homelessness programs are funded in the most detail at the congressional level. As we’re able to parse out details for other federal departments, we’ll share that information as well.

Homeless Assistance Grants

First, HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants received an additional $130 million compared with FY 2017, bringing total funding to $2.513 billion. This will cover increased costs from rising rents, and fund a net increase in programs. We estimate that this increase will be enough to move an additional 20,000–25,000 people from homelessness to housing over the course of the year. The increased capacity will be targeted to homeless youth and homeless domestic violence survivors. This is the third year in a row with increases greater than $100 million.

Section 8

Next, Section 8 received expanded capacity. Renewals are fully funded for both project-based Section 8 and vouchers—this relieves the downsizing pressure that’s existed since the 2013 “sequestration” year. There are additional funds for new “incremental” vouchers: $40 million for HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing for homeless veterans with disabilities, $20 million for the Family Unification Program for families and youth in the child welfare system, and approximately $385 million for “811 vouchers” for people with disabilities. That money will provide approximately 60,000 new vouchers for vulnerable Americans.

Written by Steve Berg

[email protected]

March 23, 2018