SCANPH members and our allies in Southern California are making the calls and sending the emails to both our California Senators and their staff requesting full funding for HOME. Going through the click throughs on our Action Alerts, over 100 respondents have participated in our online action this week and we strongly believe many of them made phone calls. Thanks to HOME supporters and an agreement to raise the low spending caps, the revised Senate bill restored HOME funding to $900 million earlier this week.
Despite the increasing need though for affordable homes though, an amendment also has been introduced that would negate our efforts and would essentially eliminate the HOME program altogether. Amendment 2838 was offered by Senator Flake and would cut funding for the HOME program from $900 million in the revised Senate THUD bill to $66 million. Earlier this year, the Senate proposed to cut HOME by 93 percent from $900 million in FY 2015 to just $66 million.
According to HUD, if HOME is zeroed out for FY16 and not funded at President Barack Obama’s requested level of $1.06 billion, there would be a loss of an estimated 38,665 affordable housing units (16,045 homebuyer units, 15,099 new or rehabilitated rental units, and 7,521 rehabilitated owner-occupied homes), and 8,813 fewer families would be assisted with HOME tenant-based rental assistance.
The THUD appropriations bill just stalled this week, so we still should have more time to educate our Senators about the harmful amendment. It looks like the Senate will take up the THUD appropriations bill again between Thanksgiving and December 11th.
HOME is a highly successful, locally-driven block grant program that helps fund down payment assistance for low-income homebuyers and provides gap financing to develop and preserve affordable rental housing. The program is exclusively focused on serving low-income families, with more than half of all funding directed to very and extremely low-income individuals. Moreover, HOME works in urban, suburban, and rural communities in all 50 states.
In Los Angeles, HOME funds are critical to help fund the City's Affordable Housing Trust Fund helping to alleviate the shortage of affordable homes. In addition, HOME funds help to fund city housing department services that fund programs that serve the homeless. Cuts to HOME will adversely effect every California resident with less affordable homes and increased homelessness.
Please stay tuned for our Action Alerts. We will have details on how you can help preserve HOME fundng.