HOPE VI Bill Approved by House Committee
By Eugene T. Lowe
October 8, 2007
The House Financial Services Committee September 26 approved H.R. 3524, the HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2007. The legislation would reauthorize HOPE VI, the severely distressed public housing revitalization program through FY2015 at $800 million annually. The program is strongly supported by the Conference of Mayors and its reauthorization is called for in the Mayors 10-Point Plan.
“Since its creation in 1992, the HOPE VI program has provided resources for public housing agencies to revitalize public housing units that are desperately needed by America’s poor families, including the elderly and persons with disabilities, “ said Representative Maxine Waters (CA), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “I applaud the passage of H.R. 3524 as it will bring ‘hope’ back to the HOPE VI program.”
H.R. 3524 makes several changes in HOPE VI. A major change would be the requirement that all public housing units demolished be replaced on a one-for-one basis. One of the major complaints of HOPE VI is that the program replaced thousands of public housing residents and that public housing units have been loss.
There are also requirements for the development of on'site mixed-income housing and off'site mixed-income housing. In general the requirements addresses the goal of decreasing the concentration of poverty, and both on-site and off-site mixed-income housing must achieve the legislative requirements in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing.
The bill includes a number of requirements that would increase the construction rate of HOPE VI developments. All new housing would have to be rebuilt within 12 months of any demolition or disposition. And there would be penalties for grantees that do not meet performance benchmarks. The bill does not penalize housing authorities in states with limited tax credit allocations and waives grant matching requirements in natural disaster areas or those with other emergencies. H.R. 3524 also requires all replacement housing and other structures part of the HOPE VI development to be built in accordance with green building standards.
The full House is expected to consider the bill in October.