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U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently unveiled HUD’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal. This year The President’s Budget provides a roadmap for accelerating economic growth, expanding opportunity for all Americans, and ensuring fiscal responsibility. The Budget adheres to the 2015 spending levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act and shows the choices the President would make at those levels.

But it also shows how to build on this progress to realize the nation’s full potential with a fully paid for $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, split evenly between defense and non-defense priorities. Read HUD’s proposed FY 2015 budget here.

“This year’s budget presents a unique opportunity for HUD to work within the frame of the Bipartisan Budget agreement while continuing to build ladders of opportunity for all Americans” says Donovan. “This funding will continue to help strengthen and stabilize our nation’s housing market while putting our economy back on the right track and helping those in most need.”

HUD’s budget is an essential component of the President’s vision of investing in the things we need to grow our economy, create jobs, increase skills training and improve education – while continuing long term deficit reduction.

The budget focuses on four key principals:

• Driving Economic Growth by Increasing Access to Credit and Strengthening the Federal Housing Administration;
• Providing Opportunity by Restoring and Increasing Assistance to Vulnerable Families;
• Creating Growth and Opportunity through Key Initiatives; and
• Ensuring Fiscal Responsibility and Increasing Efficiency.
• While the President’s request makes critical investments to speed economic growth — growing neighborhoods of opportunity through Choice Neighborhoods and providing access to credit through FHA—it also includes new savings proposals and some very difficult choices we would not have made in a better fiscal environment.

Despite these tough choices, FY2015 Budget Request increases the gross Budget Authority by 2.6 percent over FY2014 levels, and by 10.1 percent over FY2013 sequestration levels, to $46.66 billion.

Drives Economic Growth by Increasing Access to Credit and Strengthening the FHA

• Estimates that the FHA will end the year with a capital reserve balance of $7.8 billion and will not need a mandatory appropriation from the U.S. Treasury.
• Creates FHA HAWK – Homeowners Armed with Knowledge – to increase access to credit for first-time homebuyers underserved by the current mortgage market and further strengthen the FHA fund.
• Increases Housing Counseling by 33 percent above last year’s level, to $60 million.

Provides Opportunity by Restoring and Increasing Assistance to Needy Families:

• Increases investments in several key programs, including Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers (VASH), Choice Neighborhoods
• Funds Homeless Assistance Grants at $301 million above FY2014 levels, to get back on track with Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Creates Growth and Opportunity through Key Initiatives:

• The FY15 Budget provides $120 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Additionally, the Administration’s “Growth, Opportunity and Security Initiative provides $280 million. These funds will support comprehensive revitalization in high-poverty neighborhoods and the Administration’s Promise Zones Initiative;
• The budget eliminates the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) cap of 60,000 units, which will enable HUD to address the more than 180,000 units of applications on hand today, and create approximately $6 billion in private financing for the recapitalization of public housing.