May 20, 2004
JACKSON UNVEILS FUNDING ASSISTANCE FOR PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES
HUD to speed resources to cash-strapped voucher programs
WASHINGTON - In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee today, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson unveiled a dual approach to help all public housing authorities (PHAs) adjust to rental costs and continue to serve the low-income families in their communities.
"As a former director of three public housing agencies, I understand the need to ensure families currently utilizing vouchers will continue to benefit from the Section 8 program," said Secretary Jackson. "This Administration is committed to working with Congress and the public housing authorities to provide rental assistance to those most in need."
Under the plan unveiled by Jackson, HUD will provide a "full inflation factor" for payments to public housing authorities. This adjustment to the funding formula will be retroactive to January 1, 2004 and will provide housing agencies more of their funding upfront, rather than later in 2004. On Tuesday, HUD notified each PHA on how the new funding formula will be applied throughout the year so they can better plan their budget.
In addition, HUD is making available $150 million in 2003 carryover dollars to replenish the reserves of approximately 525 PHAs who qualify for restoration funding. HUD will notify all agencies eligible for the 2003 reserve funding today. These reserve funds, which are maintained by PHAs can be used to offset unanticipated costs.
"These steps should alleviate the funding challenges some public housing authorities were anticipating when HUD recently adopted congressionally mandated formula changes to Section 8 funding," said Jackson. "We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the public housing authorities to apply the funding cap in the fairest manner possible."
Jackson also outlined HUD's $31.3 billion budget proposal for FY 2005 testifying that the spending plan will create new opportunities for those who seek affordable housing and the American Dream of homeownership, while generating stability and prosperity for our communities.
"This budget builds on this Administration's effort to increase affordable rental opportunities, boost homeownership, promote decent and affordable housing free from discrimination, and encourage the participation of faith-based and community organizations in our programs," said Jackson. "In addition, this proposal creates new opportunities to improve HUD's performance in its critically needed housing and community development programs."
HUD's FY 2005 budget proposal includes:
- The American Dream Downpayment Initiative -$200 million to provide downpayment and closing cost assistance to low-income families buying their first home;
- Zero Downpayment Mortgage- a proposal to offer a new NO DOWNPAYMENT mortgage product to help an estimated 150,000 families a year to purchase their first home.
- Housing Counseling- a record $45 million to help individuals and families to find decent rental housing and to assist in purchasing a home;
- Targeted Homeless Assistance -more than $1 billion in homeless assistance including a new $50 million Samaritan Initiative to provide permanent housing for those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness; and,
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.