Senate Hearing: HUD Staffing, Service Coordinators

Legislation | June 11, 2021 | by Linda Couch

On June 10, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies held a hearing on HUD’s fiscal year 2022 budget request. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge was the sole witness.

On June 10, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies held a hearing on HUD’s fiscal year 2022 budget request. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge was the sole witness.

Subcommittee Chair Brian Schatz (D-HI) welcomed Secretary Fudge to the hearing, saying that HUD’s fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget request mirrors the housing principles he and former Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME), who is now the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, share: unwavering support for ending homelessness, the preservation of existing affordable housing, and the advancement of economic development for disadvantaged communities. Chair Schatz noted that, of HUD’s requested $9 billion increase for FY22, $3.7 billion is for increased costs to cover renewals of existing housing assistance and that this is the highest one-year increase to renewal needs ever.

“The reality of limited affordable housing stock, skyrocketing rents, and low wages are causing people to be pushing into homelessness at alarming levels,” Chair Schatz said.

Chair Schatz questioned Secretary Fudge about HUD staffing levels, asking about the impact of the 20% decrease in HUD staff between 2012 and 2019 is to HUD. “We are at risk of not being able to do some of the things we need to do to make sure our mission is completed,” Secretary Fudge said, describing how HUD is overworked and understaffed. Secretary Fudge said that HUD is looking closely at its hiring practices and making changes to them to speed up processes, all while 500 people working at HUD are eligible to retire today.

Ranking Member Collins questioned Secretary Fudge on Service Coordinators, saying she is pleased Congress was able to increase funding for Service Coordinators in HUD’s fiscal year 2021 funding and noted that HUD has requested additional new Service Coordinator funding for FY22. But, Ranking Member Collins said, there remain unresolved issues identified by a 2016 Government Accountability Office report on HUD Service Coordinators, namely that HUD does not know, according to GAO, how many Service Coordinators it has. “It is really hard for us to decide how much money is needed for people if you cannot tell us how many people you have,” Ranking Member Collins said.

Secretary Fudge responded she’d recently had a meeting with GAO to review GAO’s topo 13 concerns, and lack of information on the number of Service Coordinators is one of those 13. “We are already putting in place a plan that we address this in a very short window of time,” Secretary Fudge said. “I came away from the [GAO] meeting knowing that we do have the information, it’s just a matter of over the last period of time no one seemed to want to get the information.”

At the hearing, Chair Schatz said he hopes to mark up the FY22 bill in July.

Housing advocates are urged to reach out to members of Congress in support of LeadingAge’s affordable senior housing policy priorities.

Our priorities are here.

An alert for FY22 HUD funding is here.

Watch the hearing here.