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House okays boost in HOME funding.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a one year housing reauthorization bill that calls for increased funding for local housing and community development and provides fiscal relief for fiscally distressed communities.

By a vote of 369 to 54, the House approved H.R. 5334, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992. The Senate is expected to vote on its own reauthorization bill, S. 3031, the National Affordable Housing Act Amendments of 1992 sometime before the August 13 recess.

H.R. 5334 calls for $2.1 billion for the HOME state and local block grant program and $3.4 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This represents a $600 million increase for HOME over last year's level and no increase for CDBG.

The House previously approved a housing appropriations bill that includes $4 billion for CDBG and $600 million for HOME. That is a $600 million increase for. CDBG and a $900 million reduction for HOME.

Two amendments were adopted that were part of an en bloc amendment introduced by Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, chair of the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs. The first amendment replaced the HOME match requirement in H.R. 5334 of a flat 10 percent match with an across the board 20 percent match for all activities. Gonzalez accepted this amendment at the request of Rep. Chalmers Wylie (R-Ohio), ranking minority member of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee.

A second amendment was adopted, that would set aside $15 million in CDBG grants to encourage state and local governments to identify and remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing. This amendment was adopted at the recommendation of Reps. Frank Riggs (R-Calif.), Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

In a meeting with NLC, Riggs said that this amendment does not give the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the authority to preempt local zoning ad land use policies. Riggs said this amendment is designed to provide local governments with grants that would assist municipalities that wish to review their local regulations.

All of the other NLC priority concerns remain in the bill. They include: distress factors to relieve communities experiencing extreme fiscal distress from meeting the match requirement; 100 percent use of debt financing as an eligible match; and, use of up to 10 percent of HOME funds for administrative expenses.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Barreto, Julio
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 10, 1992
Words:392
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