The HOME Investment Partnerships Program was authorized by the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-625). HOME is a federal block grant program that provides funding to states and localities to be used exclusively for affordable housing activities to benefit low-income households.
Funds for HOME are appropriated annually to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which in turn distributes funding to states and certain localities by formula. Forty percent of HOME funds are allocated to states and 60% are allocated to localities. The formula takes into account six factors, including the number of units in a jurisdiction that are substandard or unaffordable, the age of a jurisdiction’s housing, and the number of families living below the poverty line in the jurisdiction.
States and localities that receive HOME funds are known as “participating jurisdictions.” Participating jurisdictions must match the HOME funds they spend with their own 25% permanent contribution to affordable housing activities. They also must submit a Consolidated Plan to HUD that identifies the community’s housing needs and describes in detail how HOME and other HUD block grant funds will be used to meet those needs. Participating jurisdictions can administer HOME funds themselves, or they can designate public agencies or nonprofit organizations to administer all or part of the HOME program on their behalf.
HOME funds can be used to finance a wide variety of affordable housing activities that generally fall into four categories: rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing; assistance to home buyers; acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of rental housing; and tenant-based rental assistance. Projects that use HOME funding must meet certain income targeting and affordability requirements. Specifically, all HOME-assisted housing units must benefit households with incomes at or below 80% of area median income. Additionally, 90% of occupants of HOME-assisted rental units and households that receive tenant-based rental assistance must have incomes at or below 60% of area median income. HOME-assisted housing must also meet certain definitions of affordability and must continue to remain affordable to low-income households for a specified period of time. The specific affordability requirements vary according to the type of activity for which funds are used and the amount of HOME funding contributed to the project.
Funding for HOME fluctuated between $1.5 billion and $2 billion for several years before falling to $1 billion in FY2012-FY2014. (The FY2013 appropriation was about $950 million after accounting for sequestration.) In FY2014, all 50 states and 587 localities received HOME formula grants, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four insular areas. The median state grant amount (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) was about $6 million, and the median locality grant amount was about $580,000.
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