Acting Secretary Jackson yesterday released the President's proposed $31.3 billion for the Department in fiscal year 2005, a proposal that will continue to promote affordable housing, strengthen communities and increase homeownership across America.
The Acting Secretary said the budget blueprint will continue to provide historically high levels of support to thousands of local programs that house and serve the nation's homeless.
Among the initiatives included in the budget are:
- New legislation for a Zero Down Payment Mortgage program to help an estimated 150,000 families a year to purchase their first home.
- Some $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Initiative to help tens of thousands of low-income families a year to become first-time homeowners.
- More than $2 billion for the HOME program to be allocated to 630 state and local governments.
- About $45 million to support 550,000 families with home purchase and homeownership counseling and about 250,000 families with rental counseling.
- Sweeping reform of the nation's rental assistance voucher program to give local housing officials the flexibility to better address local needs and potentially serve more families.
- A new demonstration program -- Freedom to House Initiative -- that will allow 50 public housing authorities the freedom to establish rents for their residents based on their local rental market, rather than on national rental estimates.
- For low-income households, a Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit of up to 50 percent of the cost of new construction or rehabilitation to stimulate the production of affordable homes in distressed communities.
- Some $65 million to fund "sweat equity" homeownership programs.
- Nearly $21 million in Fair Housing Initiatives Program grants to fight housing discrimination.
- $50 million in housing assistance for chronic or long-term homelessness individuals through the Samaritan Initiative.
- $295 million to provide housing and supportive services to low-income persons with HIV/AIDS and their families.
- $4.3 billion in Community Development Block Grants to states, cities and urban counties, and $71.6 million to Indian tribes.
- A $5 million pilot program to increase participation of faith-based and grassroots community organizations in five cities' community development strategies.
- $64.6 million to continue HUD's Youthbuild program, which targets at-risk 16-24 year olds, providing them with education and employment skills necessary to start careers in the building trades.