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Most public housing agencies (PHAs) receive ongoing funding from the federal government to support public housing. There are two major forms of subsidy: the operating fund and the capital fund. PHAs may also seek additional funds for public housing through a competitive process. For example, in recent years there has been competitive funding for Family Self Sufficiency coordinators and Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) grants. In addition a PHA may receive special funding through special congressional earmarks.
In recent years, Congress has not provided sufficient funding for the operating fund, and therefore PHAs have been funded at a percentage of the need for operating subsidies as determined by a formula. The underfunding of the operating fund has resulted in PHAs receiving operating subsidies prorated to 85% or less of the formula need.
There is an estimated backlog of public housing capital needs as high as $32 billion. The HUD website has current and historical information regarding the amount of capital funds received by each PHA. In addition to annual appropriations, in 2009, as part of the second stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)), Congress appropriated $4 billion for the public housing capital fund. Of these funds, $3 billion has been distributed to PHAs and the remaining $1 billion will be distributed competitively in accordance with a notice of funding availability (NOFA). There is a tight time line with which PHAs must comply for the commitment and expenditure of these ARRA funds. There are also timelines for the expenditure of capital funds.
Housing advocates have commented on PHAs plans for the use of the capital funds in the context of the PHA plan process. Information regarding such comments is set forth below.
Decade of Neglect Has Weakened Federal Low-Income Housing Programs
This February 2009 report by Douglas Rice and Barbara Sard, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, documents the growing need for affordable housing and examines how recent funding shortfalls and policy changes have affected the ability of federal housing programs to address this need.
Preserving Safe, High Quality Public Housing Should Be a Priority of Federal Housing Policy
This October 2008 report by Will Fischer and Barbara Sard, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, examines the current state of public housing in the United States and discusses federal policy changes that have greatly improved public housing over the past decade, as well as the deteriorating funding situation that is undermining this progress.
Administration Releases More Detailed Proposed FY 2010 HUD Budget
This NHLP Housing Law Bulletin article from June 2009 provides an overview of President Obama’s FY 2010 funding request seeking an overall increase of approximately 7% in funding for HUD programs.
Doubling of Capital Fund Appropriations Offers Opportunities for Housing Authorities and Residents
This NHLP Housing Law Bulletin article from April-May 2009 provides an overview of the crucial funding provided by the FY 2009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and other applicable recovery funds.
The Public Housing Capital Plan: Basic Information for Advocates
The Annual Plan is a PHA’s application for public housing capital funds. Attached to the Annual Plan are the Annual Statement/Performance and Evaluation Report, and the Capital Fund Program Five-Year Action Plan. This November-December 2004 NHLP Housing Law Bulletin article explains various aspects of these plans and provides tips for advocates.
Comments by advocates and residents
Submitted to PHAs as part of the PHA Annual Plan process regarding the use of capital funds.
Statutes and Regulations
Pub. Law No. 111-8 (March 11, 2009) (H.R. 1105, the omnibus fiscal year 2009 appropriations bill)
Each year Congress appropriates funds for the public housing program. The appropriation for fiscal year 2009 was signed into law on March 11, 2009 and appropriated $2.45 billion for the capital fund and $4.455 billion for the operating fund.
Pub. Law No. 111-5 (Feb. 17, 2009) ( H.R. 1)
In 2009, Congress, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which is also known as the second stimulus package, appropriated $4 billion for the public housing capital fund. These funds are in addition to the fiscal year 2009 annual appropriations for public housing capital funds.
HUD’s FY 2010 Budget documents
Summary, a more detailed Appendix, and summaries prepared by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org) (The FY 2010 budget requests $4.6 billion in operating subsidies and $2.24 billion for the capital fund).
Notice PIH 2009-12
Information and Procedures for Processing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Capital Fund Formula Grants (Mar. 18, 2009).