President Biden signed the federal omnibus legislation into law on March 15 that will allocate funding to various parts of the government. Each time a government spending bill is brought up, NMHC remains highly engaged because its passage – or lack thereof – determines the funding for several key Departments, Agencies and programs critical to our industry.
This year’s spending package includes 12 different bills that set forth $1.5 trillion in discretionary resources. Key highlights for our industry include:
- $53.7 billion in HUD funding – an increase of $4 billion above fiscal year 2021—which includes an expansion of housing choice vouchers and increased funding for key programs to develop and maintain affordable housing.
- Industry-important extensions and modifications of both the EB5 and H-2B programs.
- A reauthorization of the NMHC-supported Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that includes key housing provisions.
The legislation also provides for funding related to infrastructure, broadband, and housing access and opportunity that could prove impactful to our industry. Use the drop-down feature below for a deep dive into key inclusions and NMHC’s viewpoint.
Included HUD funds allocate $10 billion for Community Planning and Development, which includes $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
This legislation also sets aside a 75 percent increase via the HUD budget to the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which aims to revitalize low-income housing and distressed communities.
NMHC Viewpoint: Our nation needs to build an average of 328,000 new apartment homes each year through 2030 just to keep up with current demand—and in doing so, help ease the housing affordability crisis felt nationwide. We must deploy a holistic, exhaustive approach to address this challenge. But NMHC sees great value in both the CDBG and HOME programs to help us move the needle.
As part of HUD’s budget, $27.4 billion has been set aside for tenant-based rental assistance and $13.9 billion for project-based rental assistance.
NMHC Viewpoint: The public-private Section 8 housing choice voucher program could be the nation's most effective affordable housing and community development tool. However, it is plagued with inefficiencies, onerous regulatory requirements and a flawed funding system. NMHC is pleased to see an increase in funding for this critical program, but lawmakers must also programmatic inefficiencies to ensure the program’s success by attracting private housing providers' participation.
Included in the Omnibus is a five-year reauthorization of the VAWA program, which includes a number of key housing provisions important to members that participate in programs such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and other housing subsidy programs.
NMHC Viewpoint: NMHC has been extremely engaged on this issue since its inaugural passage decades ago. At each reauthorization, we have helped improve the law to address the objectives of policymakers, while also ensuring it aligns with the realities of how rental housing operates. Following NMHC advocacy efforts, this latest reauthorization does not include several provisions included in the House-passed version that would have created serious operational challenges for the industry. Click through for a deep dive on our recent advocacy efforts in this space.
The legislation outlines that the Homeland Security Department can increase the numerical limit (or cap) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas that may be issued in FY 2022 if it determines that the needs of U.S. businesses cannot be satisfied with U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor.
It also extends the E-Verify and Religious Worker Special Immigrant Visa programs through the end of the year and extends the EB5 Regional Center Program through FY 2027.
NMHC Viewpoint: Immigrants are a key driver of apartment demand and an important force in apartment construction and operations. NMHC believes Congress should enact comprehensive immigration reform to address the current patchwork of state and local requirements that impose additional responsibility on apartment firms for the immigration status of employees and apartment residents beyond federal law.
The legislation would extend the authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30, 2022.
NMHC Viewpoint: Since federal law requires apartment owners with federally-backed mortgages to purchase flood insurance, it's imperative that Congress enact a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP to prevent market disruption and support program reforms that will better mitigate flood risk for apartment communities.
Within the rural funding, the legislation invests over $550 million in the expansion of broadband service to provide among other provision, “economic development opportunities.” This is in addition to the $2 billion previously provided in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
As part of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)budget,the legislation also includes an $8 million increase from the FY 2021 budget, bringing the Commission’s budget for this year to $382 million. The stated goal of these funds is “to support efforts to expand broadband access, improve the security of U.S. telecommunications networks, and administer billions in COVID relief programs.”
NMHC Viewpoint: NMHC has worked diligently over the past several years to advocate for funding and policies that will help breakdown the digital divide—particularly in our most underserved communities. As these funds are deployed, NMHC will continue to work with the policymakers to ensure multifamily properties receive the resources needed to ensure our residents maintain access to critical broadband resources.
Importantly, this legislation fully funds President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package that was passed in November 2021.
As part of the rural funding, the legislation includes $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans, and over $653 million in water and waste grants for clean and reliable drinking water systems and sanitary waste disposal systems and $7.9 billion in loan authority for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans.
Within the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies funding, the bill provides funding intended to help rebuild our nation’s water infrastructure—"critical to protecting communities from more frequent and severe storms and addressing the worsening drought.”
NMHC Viewpoint: As communities struggle with inadequate transportation, poor quality drinking water, sewage and other public systems, they are increasingly looking for ways to pass infrastructure improvement costs to developers by making project approvals contingent on infrastructure investments. This translates into higher rents for households and does nothing to solve the critical infrastructure challenges. NMHC is pleased to see the inclusion of various infrastructure funds – and the full funding of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act – and remains optimistic that lawmakers will continue to allocate funds that will solve the underlying infrastructure needs of our communities.
Through this legislation, more than 300 Members of Congress identified specific projects to fund that support a variety of targeted housing, economic and community development investments.
HUD funds also increase supportive services for HUD-assisted households “to improve their connections to jobs, healthcare, and educational opportunities.”
NMHC Viewpoint: For decades, NMHC has advocated on a wide range of issues that impact housing affordability, supply, stability, quality and ultimately housing equity. By focusing on policies that strive to address housing affordability, equity and opportunity, policymakers and housing stakeholders have the ability to improve the appeal of housing as an asset class and drive much-needed investment and resources into our communities from the private sector.