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Congress gave final approval Friday to a bipartisan bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2023, clearing the last major piece of legislation for the year. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. Included in the bill are an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Sept. 30 and a host of other housing programs supported by the National Association of REALTORS®. Here’s a detailed list of NAR priorities included in the spending package:
- Anti-money laundering: The bill provides funding for developing a beneficial ownership database, which includes information on real estate ownership to support anti-money laundering efforts.
- Broadband: $364 million is appropriated to the USDA’s Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program(link is external) to fulfill its mission of providing loans and grants to fund construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
- Community development funding: The bill allocates nearly $6.4 billion to the Community Development Block Grant(link is external) (CDBG) program and other local economic development projects to benefit low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and people. This is a $1.6 billion increase in CDBG funding, including $85 million in grants to jurisdictions for the identification and removal of barriers to affordable housing production and preservation. The bill also allocates $324 million to the Treasury Department’s Community Development Fincanial Institutions Fund(link is external), which promotes economic and community development in low-income communities, including investments in low-income housing.
- COVID-19 assistance programs: There is increased funding in the bill for various programs under the pandemic-era CARES Act and American Rescue Plan, including housing and rental assistance.
- Disaster assistance: $27 billion is appropriated for emergency funding to help communities recover from recent natural disasters, rebuild infrastructure and prepare for future events.
- Elderly housing assistance: $1.4 billion is appropriated for the Housing for the Elderly and Housing for Persons with Disabilities programs under HUD.
- Emergency disaster assistance: $38 billion is appropriated for emergency funding to help Americans impacted by recent disasters in the West and Southeast, including tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding and wildfires, as well as funding for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund.
- Energy assistance: $5 billion is appropriated for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program(link is external) (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families pay their energy costs, including home energy bills, weatherization and certain energy-related home repairs.
- Federal Housing Administration: The bill sets a limit of up to $400 billion in FHA commitments to guarantee single-family loans and provides $150 million for administrative costs, available through Sept. 30, 2024.
- Flood insurance: The bill extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through the end of 2023. The program’s current authorization would have expired Friday. The bill also increases flood map funding from $275 million to $313 million.
- Ginnie Mae: The bill provides up to $900 billion for new loan guarantee commitments and provides $40.4 million for salaries and expenses for the Government National Mortgage Association.
- HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $1.5 billion is provided for HUD’s HOME Investments Partnerships Program(link is external), which provides grants to states and localities to fund housing-related activities, including building, buying and rehabilitating affordable housing units for rent or purchase, as well as rental assistance. This money is expected to lead to the construction of nearly 10,000 new units for the rental and sale markets.
- Homelessness assistance: $3.6 billion for homeless assistance grants, enough to provide funding to assist more than 1 million people experiencing homelessness. This provision includes funding to expand assistance to special populations, including survivors of domestic violence, homeless youth and new permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.
- Housing vouchers: The bill provides $130 million in new incremental funding for new Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, enough to support an additional 11,700 low-income households.
- Infrastructure: The bill includes $62.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, which includes funding for federal highway programs from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and money to address structurally deficient bridges.
- Manufactured housing: $225 million is provided for the preservation and revitalization of manufactured housing units and communities.
- Native community housing: Over $1 billion is appropriated for Native communities to purchase, construct or rehabilitate housing and related infrastructure to address production demand and the need for higher-quality housing stock.
- Retirement savings: The bill updates rules relating to employer 401(k) and 403(b) plans, requiring them to automatically enroll all new, eligible employees.
- Rural housing: $2 billion is appropriated for the USDA’s Rural Housing Service, an increase of $183 million over fiscal 2022. Within that increase is $40 million in rental assistance funds.
- Small business programs: More than $1.2 billion is appropriated for the Small Business Administration (SBA), including funds for SBA disaster loans, entrepreneurial development grants and small business development centers.
- Veteran housing: $2.7 billion is included for critical services and housing assistance for veterans.
Source: NAR, Realtor Magazine