Five New England Governors Unite to Support HOME
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 19, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This week, five New England governors united across party lines in support of the HOME program(link is external), which provides critical funding for rental production, rent assistance, and home ownership. Governors Baker (R-MA), Hassan (D-NH), Malloy (C-CT), Raimondo (D-RI), and Shumlin (D-VT) all signed a letter to the New England federal delegation supporting the President’s budget recommendation of $1.8 billion for the HOME program, which the U.S. House and Senate budget proposals threatened to eviscerate.
“As governors, we are particularly attuned to the problems of both housing for our workforce and for our most vulnerable citizens who in highly competitive markets across New England are too often faced with homelessness,” according to the letter. “As you consider funding priorities for Fiscal Year 2016, we speak together on a bipartisan basis in favor of an increased federal/state partnership on the issue of affordable housing,” it continues.
The HOME program was authorized in 1990 as part of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act. Targeted to low or moderate income people, the HOME program can be used to build new houses, rehabilitate existing housing, help purchase a first home, and provide rental assistance. These funds can also be used for historic rehabilitation and transit-oriented development. According to a report from the HOME Coalition(link is external), HOME funds and leveraged public and private resources have helped build or preserve nearly 1.2 million affordable homes and provide direct rental assistance to 270,000 families at risk of homelessness since 1992. HOME is a flexible program that can be tailored to the unique housing needs in each state.
HOME funding has rapidly decreased over the past few years, creating great difficulties for states in their efforts to address affordable housing needs. Between FY11 and FY15, HOME funding was cut from $1.6 billion to $900 million. Under the most recent proposals from Congress, HOME is being recommended for $66 million under the Senate Appropriations Committee proposal (which would basically eliminate the program), and $766 million in appropriated funds under the House proposal.
On behalf of the New England Housing Network, Brenda Clement, Executive Director of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association in Boston, MA, said, “We thank the New England governors for recognizing the importance of the HOME program to the people of our region, many of whom struggle with the high costs of housing in our states. We look forward to working with Congress to increase the funding available for this program so we can address the housing needs of our most vulnerable residents, who simply can’t find places to live for themselves and their families, at prices that they can afford.”