Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hill Update: Congress to Consider FY2009 Appropriations Bill

Congress is set to begin consideration of a fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus spending bill to complete the FY2009 appropriations process. The text of this bill was released yesterday, and the bill is likely to pass Congress without amendment. The bill includes the following funding provisions:

- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants: $1.7 billion, $91 million above 2008, for grants to local communities to provide housing and services for the homeless;
- Section 8 Tenant Based Vouchers: $16.8 billion, $341 million above 2008, to continue providing 1.9 million vouchers and to provide 14,000 new, targeted vouchers for the disabled and homeless veterans during the housing crisis;
- Section 8 Project Based Vouchers: $7.1 billion, $668 million above 2008, to provide affordable housing to 1.3 million low-income families and individuals;
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers (HUD-VASH): $75 million for 10,000 housing vouchers for homeless veterans;
- Family Unification Program (FUP): $20 million for incremental rental voucher assistance;
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): $310 million, a $10 million increase from 2008;
- SAMHSA Competitive Homeless Services programs: $75 million total, a $22 million increase above 2008, to provide mental health and substance use services to homeless families, youth, and individuals. Much of this increase is focused for permanent supportive housing. Also included is report language directing SAMHSA to fund the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Initiative, which helps eligible homeless individuals access SSI payments more efficiently;
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY): $105 million, a $1.6 million increase above 2008;
Health Care for the Homeless: $190 million, a $20 million increase above 2008;
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH): $59.7 million, a $6.4 million increase above 2008;
- Second Chance Act: $25 million, $15 million of which is for state and local demonstration grants and $10 million of which is for nonprofit grants;
- Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act: $10 million, a $3.5 million increase over the 2008 appropriation; HOME Investment Partnership: $1.8 billion, an increase of $121 million from 2008;
- Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: $26.3 million, a $2.7 million increase over 2008; and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): $3.9 billion, $34 million above 2008, to fund community and economic development projects in 1,180 localities.

The House may vote on the measure as soon as Wednesday, and the Senate is likely to vote on the bill by the end of this week or early next week. Lawmakers will then begin to shift attention to FY2010 appropriations, as President Obama is planning to release an outline of his proposed FY2010 budget on Thursday, February 26.

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