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Appropriations committee reports VA HUD FY04 budget. (Advocacy in Action).

The House Appropriations Committee recently approved a $37 billion budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs for FY04. This represents a $942 million increase over last year's allocation and $98 million over the President's request.

Some of the highlights in the appropriations bill include:

* $2.064 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership program, a $77 million dollar increase over FY03 and a $25 million dollar increase over the Administration's request;

* $4.538 billion for Community Development Block Grant formula grants representing a slight increase from FY03;

* $18.4 billion for the Housing Certificate Fund, a $1.3 billion increase from FY03;

* $3.6 billion for Public Housing Operating Subsidies, $26 million over the request and $25 million over FY03.

* $1.242 billion for homeless programs including full funding for Shelter Plus Care contracts; and

* $297 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS.

The Appropriations Committee provided $12.1 billion for Section 8 housing voucher renewals representing $810 million more than FY03 and $205 million more than the request. The committee did not fund the Administration's proposed Housing Assistance For Needy Families (HANF) program.

Although the Section 8 funding provided will fully fund all authorized vouchers based on a 96 percent lease up rate and the most current costs according to the House subcommittee, NLC is concerned that there are not enough funds provided to cover all leases or to provided additional vouchers.

The Hope VI Program, which the Administration proposed to eliminate in FY04, was funded at $50 million for FY04. This represents a $524 million decrease from FY03. NLC is opposed to the cut in Hope VI funding and is actively advocating for full funding in FY04.

In other appropriations news, the House of Representatives approved the Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill.

HR 2799 provides $3.49 billion for assistance to state and local law enforcement for crime fighting initiatives, representing $1.16 billion above the President's FY04 request, but $102 million below FY03 funding levels.

The spending bill specifically includes: $500 million for the Byrne formula program and $400 million for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant program, both of which the Administration proposed to eliminate.

In addition, the committee would appropriate $462 million for juvenile delinquency prevention and accountability programs.

Although the legislation provides language stating that $682 million is to remain in the COPS program until expended, the House sent a strong message regarding the future of COPS by not providing any funding for many COPS programs.

Those programs that were zero funded for FY 04 include the Universal Hiring Program, police overtime funding, and money for COPS Interoperability.

Committee hearings will now be held on the CJS Appropriations Bill in the Senate as early as next week, but more likely after the August recess. NLC continues to advocate full funding of the COPS program.

Details: If you have any questions or concerns, please contact John Dailey at 202-626-3020 or
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Author:Kim, Martha
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 28, 2003
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