WASHINGTON, DC -- While confidence in the U.S. housing market continues to build -- homebuilder sentiment in June reached its highest levels since last Septemeber -- affordable housing projects are facing considerable roadblocks with Congress proposing drastic cuts to the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, a federal program that provides block grants to states and local government. The woodworking industry relies heavily on the construction market, so this move could potentially have an impact on a host of companies involved in cabinetmaking, furnituremaking, remodeling, and more.

The fiscal year 2016 appropiations bill that just passed a Senate panel would cut funding for the HOME program by approximately 93 percent, from $900 million to just $66 million in 2016, which would reduce the number of affordable units in the market by nearly 40,000, according to some estimates. In the House version of the FY 2016 spending bill, funding for HOME was decreased from $900 million to $767 million with the remaining balance of $133 million coming from funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF), virtually eliminate that program. Established under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,  HTF was designed to "complement existing Federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families."

The National Home Builders Association (NAHB) says it has alerted Congress of the group's concerns about the impact of these drastic cuts on the housing market, and "will be aggressively lobbying the Senate to make sure this important housing program isn’t depleted." And also adding that it will continue to "with lawmakers in both chambers of Congress to seek the highest possible funding level for HOME and all other housing programs as the appropriations process moves forward."

 

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