CARH’S BROADCAST EMAIL—Legislative Alert
As CARH members will recall, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) P.L. 117-2 included an additional $100 million that was appropriated for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) program. This additional RA was intended to help non-RA residents, who the agency had designated as rent overburdened, pay rent during very challenging times for the country. When Congress was reviewing programs that should receive funding, RD told officials that approximately 75,000 households living in rural housing do not receive any form of rental subsidy. The $100 million that was allocated was able to help 27,000 households in 3,700 properties. The Administration’s budget request for RA in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022, is $1.602 billion which would fund all RA contracts, including those that first received monies through ARPA, as well as those that were originally contracted when a property was placed in service.
The House Appropriations Committee in H.R. 8239, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2023 has only recommended $1.494 which would, if enacted, not provide sufficient monies to fund the additional contracts funded by ARPA. Thus, the units identified by owners who had residents living in them who were rent overburdened would no longer be eligible for RA.
The House Appropriations Committee reported the bill to the full House on June 27, 2022. Congress has just returned from its July 4th recess. The full House of Representatives will likely consider H.R. 8239 next week. The Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee and full Committee will likely consider its version of the FY 2023 funding bill in the next two weeks. It is urgent that CARH members reach out to their Senators and tell them of the devastating impact of reducing RA funding, especially as inflation continues to rise and housing and daily living costs for individuals who have been helped by the Section 521 program also rise. As CARH members know, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) rental assistance programs during the last two years received an enormous amount of funding. Those programs are not being subject to the same reduction as USDA’s Section 521 program is being asked to bear such cuts.
Yesterday, CARH, together with nine other national housing-related groups across the spectrum, sent this letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. Members of the Subcommittee, as well as other Senators who have an interest in housing-related issues were also copied on the letter.
We would ask CARH members to send a letter of your own via email to your Senators asking them to contact Senators Baldwin and Hoeven and oppose the House action and fully fund the RA account at the requested $1.602 billion. If you have a Senator who sits on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee or the full Senate Appropriations Committee, it is even more urgent that you contact them. Please let CARH’s national office know the status of your contacts via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
For information on how to contact yours Senators, click here.
For a list of Senate Appropriations Committee members, click here.
For a list of members of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, click here.