Difference between revisions of "US Federal housing expenditures"

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HUD budget outlays, 1966-2005


Congresssional Research Service 2019 report on HUD

According to 2019 report by Congress' Congressional Research Service, there was a 108% increase in direct expenditures affordable housing programs (mainly HUD) between 1980-2018, in inflation adjusted, absolute dollar terms. Number of housing vouchers and households served have also increased substantially.

Also, this does not include the LIHTC tax credit introduced in 1986, that has become the primary source of new affordable-housing creation, building about 2.4M homes since then. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL34591.



2019 HUD funding increases

2019 HUD funding

from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [Bell 2019]:

"The 2019 government funding bill that President Trump signed into law today sustains most of the substantial funding increases of 2018 for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, and it includes funding to further expand the number of new housing vouchers and other rental assistance.

"Overall, the bill provides $53.8 billion for HUD programs, a $1 billion (nearly 2 percent) increase over the 2018 funding level. It provides enough funding, $20.3 billion, to renew all housing vouchers that low-income families are now using. The bill also creates an innovative new mobility demonstration that will enable housing agencies to provide robust support for low-income families with children seeking to use their vouchers to move to neighborhoods with quality schools and other opportunities. In addition, it funds about 19,000 new vouchers for low-income people with disabilities, homeless veterans, and families with children

"Congress also increased funds for public housing. Capital funds, which agencies use to update and maintain their housing stock, received a modest boost of $25 million over the 2018 funding level. However, there remains a capital backlog of over $26 billion throughout the public housing portfolio. The bill raised funding for the Public Housing Operating Fund, which provides funds to housing agencies for ongoing operational and utility costs, by $103 million.

"The Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program received a $232 million increase over its 2018 levels." 


Funding vs growth in need, population, Federal budget

Of course, rather than considering absolute dollars spent, we might ask what was the need, given growing population and housing costs; or consider that increasing portions of spending have gone into merely maintaining old public housing rather than creating new housing. Or, we could note that Federal spending in general has increased greatly since 1980, so this housing spending is declining as portion of budget. Also, post-1980 saw major cuts and reforms in other welfare programs, which may have helped push/keep many more people into poverty and housing insecurity or homelessness. Finally, we could compare to Federal tax expenditures on Mortgage Interest Deduction and other homeownership subsidies, which have increased tremendously since 1980 and now is much larger than HUD and LIHTC expenditures combined, and go mostly to high-income households.

However, given HUD budget figures and LIHTC, it seems inaccurate to say that US Federal affordable-housing support was substantially cut after 1980.

Claims of major funding cuts post-1980


@MKushel Margot Kushel Jul 23, 2019
Living in encampments is NOT a choice but a sx of our collective choices. (Fed $s for affordable housing ⬇️ by >50% since 1980). Eric Tars ⁦@NLCHPhomeless  #NAEH2019



  • Congressional Research Service. "Overview of Federal Housing Assistance Programs and Policy." March 27, 2019. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL34591.
  • Bell, Allison. "2019 Bill Largely Sustains 2018 HUD Funding Gains." Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 15 2019. 
  • Kimura, Donna. "Fiscal 2019 HUD Budget Approved: A spending package funds HUD at $44.2 billion, an increase from 2018." Affordable Housing Finance,