DISABLED VETERANS AND OTHER PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
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SETASIDE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC HOUSING AGENCIES
Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise to engage in a colloquy with the chairman and ranking member of the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee. There has already been much discussion about the critical role of the section 8 program in providing millions of Americans with affordable, safe housing. As my colleagues know, the 2005 funding year budget is based on a ``snapshot'' of verified VMS leasing and cost data averaged for the months of May, June, and July of 2004. I commend the chairman and ranking member for including a setaside of $45 million in the Senate bill to adjust the allocations of the housing agencies whose snapshot did not accurately reflect the real leasing levels and costs for 2004.
Unfortunately, the provision as drafted does not take into account reduced leasing levels resulting from the public housing agency: One, following HUD directives to not reissue turnover vouchers, two, accepting 1,000 or more additional vouchers through Housing Conversion Actions or enhanced vouchers, or three, accepting assigned vouchers/voucher portfolios from other public housing authorities. Without these additional criteria, many public housing agencies, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, will be unfair1y denied any of the setaside funding that is provided under this bill to make them whole. I urge the chairman and ranking member to improve this provision in conference to provide for a fairer distribution of this setaside funding.
Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from Michigan and concur with her that this is a problem that must be addressed in conference. I will work with the Senator from Michigan to ensure that the final conference report includes a fair distribution of this setaside funding for public housing agencies. As you know, we included a provision to protect the use of project-based vouchers in the distribution formula.
Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I appreciate the Senator bringing this issue to our attention and she can be sure that her concerns will be given every consideration in conference.
Ms. STABENOW. I thank the distinguished chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee.