I just returned from Washington with great news: the budget bill that Congress passed represents a significant victory for housing and homelessness!
I spent most of the week in D.C. with COHHIO staff and friends from other Ohio organizations to attend the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Housing Policy Forum and help launch the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. We also met with Ohio members of Congress as negotiations on the budget were being finalized.
This multi-state, multi-sector push on housing issues is working. The budget bill includes significant increases in funding for rental assistance, homeless grants and public housing! And it rejects the administration’s plan to slash and burn HUD’s affordable housing programs and partially mitigates the damage that last year’s tax bill did to housing tax credits.
The bill provides a 10% increase for HUD’s overall budget, $4.7 billion more than last year, and more than $12 billion above the president’s proposal. The measure renews all Housing Choice Vouchers and provides new vouchers to veterans and people with disabilities, allocates nearly $1 billion in additional funding to repair and operate public housing, and includes none of rent increases proposed by the president in his budget request. (The National Low Income Housing Coalition has all the details here.)
Your calls and emails to Ohio’s Congressional Delegation helped us push this proposal across the line. Thank you for helping to make this happen!
The Fiscal Year 2018 budget is just the start. Congress will start work on the FY 2019 budget shortly, so it’s important that everyone help us keep pushing for stronger funding for affordable homes for extremely low-income Americans.
If you can spare a minute, please call or send a thank you email to Ohio’s 13 members of Congress who voted to increase funding for homeless assistance and affordable housing programs. They are: Sens. Sherrod Brown and Portman and Reps. Joyce, Ryan, Kaptur, Stivers, Beatty, Chabot, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Turner, and Wenstrup. (Find your representative here).
We can’t take anything for granted and we’ll need these members support as Congress negotiates the FY 2019 budget. And, like always, we need your help placing calls and emails. But for now, let’s take a moment to savor the victory.
Bill Faith, Executive Director