The HOME Investment Partnerships Program was established by the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. HOME funds are granted by the national government to states, cities and urban counties to support activities related to low-income communities and affordable housing. According to HOME Coalition’s recent report, since 1992 states and communities have invested $26 billion in HOME funds, which has generated an additional $117 billion in public and private investments. That money has been used to preserve and build nearly 1.2 million affordable homes and provide rental assistance to 270,000 families at risk of homelessness.
HOME funds can be used to accomplish a wide range of activities, such as tenant-based rental assistance; housing rehabilitation; assistance to homebuyers; and new construction of housing. HOME funds are also spent on site acquisition, site improvements, demolition, relocation, and other activities related to the development of non-luxury housing. DC has benefited from $108.6 million in HOME funds that have been invested in the District alone. Those funds have leveraged $591.6 million in investments, built or preserved 3,276 homes, and 4,903 jobs were supported which generated $319.1 million in local income.Overall, the HOME program is considered successful, which may be in-part, due to its stringent requirements. 90% of the people who benefit from HOME funds have to be at the 60% area median income, or less. Furthermore, local governments who use the funds have to match 25% of the funds.
Manna has utilized HOME funding as well. The most recent project Manna completed with HOME funds is our Willowbrook condominium, which is a 16 unit tenant sponsored conversion near the Brookland Metro. Using HOME funds, we were able to develop a community of diverse homeowners. The incomes of the families that live in the condos range from below 30,000-49,000. The sense of community at Willowbrook is unique and the households are ecstatic to be able to own a home in an area that is steadily gentrifying.
Despite the success of this program, Congress has made significant cuts to its budget over the past few years. In 2010, the HOME budget was $1.8 billion. As of 2015, that budget had been slashed to $900 million. The House has proposed legislation to cut HOME funds even further, to $767 million, which is 58 percent less than 2010 funding levels. However, the President recognizes the importance of this program and has recommended increasing its budget to $1.06 billion.
The HOME Investment Partnerships Program fits its name. It is an investment tool that the government uses to invest in its residents, families, and communities. As a result, the program is able to generate more money through job growth, development, and investments, than the amount of funds which are put into it. Cutting funding from the program will have a national effect on affordable housing, during a time when many states across the nation are striving to increase their affordable housing stock. Join the coalition, by November 9th to urge Congress not just to sustain HOME funding, but to increase it to the $1.06 billion that the President recommends – now is not the time to cut affordable housing funding that touches the lives of so many in our country.