Local housing programs were twice blessed by the Obama administration in February. First, President Obama's proposed fiscal year 2010 federal budget allocates $47.5 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including $4.5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Also, the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes an additional $13.61 billion for HUD, including $1 billion for CDBG, most of which was distributed by Feb. 25.

The budget also would fund HUD's New Choice Neighborhoods Initiative aimed at promoting “transformative interventions” in poor neighborhoods. However, the Section 108 Community Development Loan Guarantee Program and the American Dream Downpayment Initiative would be eliminated because they duplicate other, larger programs, a move expected to save $16 million.

The Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors listed the $1 billion in CDBG funding from ARRA as one of several “major victories for city priorities” in the act, and the Washington-based National League of Cities' Senior Legislative Counsel Michael Wallace said their members are very happy about CDBG's proposed budget. “It's nice to have an administration that understands how important this program is to cities and states, especially in the current economic environment where cities are finding it difficult to meet their community development obligations,” he says.

The proposed budget is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov. Information on ARRA is available at www.recovery.gov.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Discretionary budget authority in billions of dollars, including emergency spending Actuals, including emergencies

In addition, the Recovery Act includes $13.6 billion.

Note: Supplemental funding designated as emergency for disaster and/or housing crisis-related activities is included in the totals — $17.1 billion for 2006, $7 million for 2007, and $9.5 billion for 2008.