HUD Updates

By on Jan 6, 2014 in News

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently received a $1.7 billion dollar Continuum of Care grant. Funds will provide assessment programs, street outreach, housing, job training, mental and physical health care, substance abuse counseling, and child care for formerly homeless persons.Senior housing

This year’s allotment reflects a 5% cut in funding, continuing a trend of decreased support for housing assistance from the Senate.

A decline in homelessness has, in part, prompted the cuts. In 2010, the Obama Administration’s Opening Doors program presented the nation with a strategic plan to end homelessness. 19 federal agencies collaborated to target populations most affected by homelessness such as veterans and children. Since the inception of Opening Doors, chronic homelessness has declined by 16 percent, homeless veterans are down by 24 percent, and homeless families have decreased by 8 percent.

While the amount of persons affected by homelessness is on the decline, funding for Opening Doors and similar initiatives is decreasing. Sequestration is largely responsible for the cuts. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) public housing has lost a total of 3.4 billion in funding since 2010 without inflation. To date, public housing developments face a $26 billion backlog of needed repairs. 1.1 million low-income families are affected by this deficit.

HUD-LogoThe 5 percent cut will not permit HUD to renew all of the housing vouchers currently needed to maintain operations. The amount of new vouchers issued will also be affected. The 2013 shortfall is the most profound in HUD history. The cuts may undermine Opening Doors’ past success.

The decline in funding may impede or reverse the decline of homelessness in America. Unless the sequestration is reversed, CBPP reports that more than 120,000 low-income families will be cut from rental assistance in 2014. If similar cuts are made in 2014, thousands of additional households will be affected. More than half of the households currently receiving vouchers are people with disabilities, families with children, and seniors.

A separate program may provide relief for seniors. HUD received $14.8 million for

Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts (SPRACs). SPRACs prevent homelessness for low-income seniors who are residents of Section 202 Direct Loan properties. 19,000 low- and very-low income seniors will benefit from this grant.