Today, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Donovan testified before the Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development about HUD programs and initiatives included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Proposal. Secretary Donovan discussed funding allocations for the proposed Transforming Rental Assistance (TRA) program, as well as the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and the Sustainable Communities Initiative. He also detailed HUD’s proposed collaboration with the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to improve homelessness assistance programs.
Following Secretary Donovan’s prepared testimony, several senators expressed their interest in how different estimates of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae related revenue would affect HUD’s proposed budget. While HUD has projected it will receive $6.9 billion in revenue from these sources, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that these returns will be 1.9 billion, while the Office of Management and Budget projects these funds to come in at $5.8 billion.
In addition, Secretary Donovan responded to questions from Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Kit Bond (R-MO) about how rural communities would be affected by HUD’s proposed budget. Specifically, he detailed the budget’s $150 million request for a Catalytic Investment Competition Grants program, which would implement targeted economic improvements for revitalization efforts across the U.S.
Senators also raised concerns about the effectiveness of programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program in helping to address the current foreclosure crisis, and how other programs could assist homeowners across America.
Other questions posed during the hearing related to Section 202 Section 811 program cuts, vouchers for veterans, shared equity, HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, and the new TRA initiative.