Marcia Fudge hedshot
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge

The federal government is more than doubling its funding for “deeply affordable housing” in announcing an almost $700 million allocation for the national Housing Trust Fund.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday announced an allocation of $689 million through the national Housing Trust Fund — a significant increase from last year’s $322 million allocation — to fund the construction, rehabilitation, preservation and operation of affordable, accessible housing for the lowest-income individuals. 

This year’s funding is projected to produce more than 5,400 additional affordable housing units, according to HUD.

Linda Couch, vice president of housing policy for LeadingAge, told McKnight’s Senior Living that she welcomed the announcement. The fund “cannot grow quickly enough,” she added.

“The Housing Trust Fund is a critical source of capital and operating funds to meet the severe shortage of affordable housing for older adults and others,” Couch said.

The allocation was previously announced as part of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s $1.09 billion disbursement to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac affordable housing allocations for 2020. 

Launched in 2008

The fund was launched in 2008 and is designed to complement existing federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of safe affordable housing for low- and extremely low-income households. Since 2017, The fund has supported the construction or rehabilitation of 775 rental units nationwide. There are 480 additional projects under construction.

“This past year has reminded us just how important it is to have access to safe and stable housing. But too many Americans are struggling to keep or find an affordable home,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said.

The Housing Trust Fund is funded through an annual assessment fee on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and it is administered through HUD as block grants to states and territories. Funding is determined by the number of extremely and very low-income renters who are severely housing cost-burdened, as well as the shortage of rental properties available to these households.

“Increasing the supply of deeply affordable housing not only helps the lowest-income people but can alleviate rent pressure on those with higher incomes as well,” according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Millions of low-income renters occupy housing units they cannot afford because they have no other option; increasing the supply of quality affordable, accessible rental housing for those with the lowest incomes through the HTF would allow these renters to move into homes affordable to them and free up their original units for renters at higher incomes.”

The NLIHC’s HoUSed campaign for universal, stable affordable housing has urged Congress to provide at least $40 billion annually for the Housing Trust Fund.