Sequestration Goes into Effect
Last Friday, March 1, President Obama issued a sequestration order, which caused sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board cuts to security and non-security programs, to officially go into effect. Plans by both Republicans and Democrats failed to garner enough support prior to the March 1 deadline to avoid sequestration.
Further information on how the cuts will be implemented to HUD programs can be found here. In addition, President Obama explained that he will not risk a government shutdown by demanding a fix to sequestration in the fiscal year (FY) 2013 appropriations bill that will be needed to fund the government past March 27.
Congress to Work on Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
Congress is expected to pass a FY 2013 appropriations bill prior to March 27, when the stopgap funding measure, also known as a continuing resolution (CR), currently funding the government will expire. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) proposed funding the remainder of FY 2013 by combining newly crafted bills for Defense and Veterans Affairs with bills that would fund all other programs, including programs within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), at FY 2012 levels. The House is expected to pass the Chairman's bill this week. Whether or not this proposal passes both chambers, key Republican and Democratic leaders have also noted that the FY 2013 appropriations bill could be packaged with a deficit reduction measure to replace sequestration.
House Passes Violence Against Women Act
On Thursday, February 28, the House passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill. The bill included provisions to ensure that lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual individuals, as well as immigrant and Native American survivors, will be covered by VAWA's protections. The legislation also expands federal housing programs covered by VAWA housing protections and requires public housing agencies and subsidized housing owners to give residents notice of VAWA rights and to adopt emergency transfer plans for residents who need to move because of victimization. It is expected that President Obama will sign the bill into law.
House to Depart for Recess
The House will be in recess beginning Thursday, March 7 until Tuesday, March 12. Members are expected to focus on FY 2013 and FY 2014 appropriations bills in the upcoming weeks upon their return.
HUD: Dramatic Increases in Worst Case Housing Needs
On February 22, HUD released "Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: Report to Congress - Summary." This report documents a dramatic increase in hardship among renters between 2009 and 2011 that span all demographic groups, household types, and regions. This increase is due to increased competition for a shrinking supply of affordable rental housing and decreasing incomes. The likelihood that very low-income households—the households that are the most likely to become homeless—would have worst case housing needs grew from 41.4 percent in 2009 to 43.9 percent in 2011. In addition, the number of available, affordable rental units decreased for both low-income and extremely low-income renters.