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Wyden, Merkley urge more affordable housing funds


Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., this week joined 39 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the senators who lead the housing subcommittee, urging increased funding for the Section 4 Capacity Building program.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 4 Program works with local community development organizations to improve affordable housing, finance small businesses, and provide for other community needs.

In their letter, the senators wrote, “The Section 4 Program allows HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country. Section 4 funds are required by law to be matched 3:1 with private investments, but program funds have consistently leveraged substantially higher amounts.”

They continued, “We are disappointed that the President’s budget has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development. Since the HUD Demonstration Act was authorized in 1993, Section 4 has proven to be a valuable and cost-effective program that has produced tangible results.

“Through a nationwide support network, Section 4 provides programmatic and training assistance to local organizations, ensuring program goals are met while granting the necessary flexibility to meet community-specific needs. As communities across the country continue to look for ways to expand economic development and provide affordable housing, funding for Section 4 remains critically important.”

The senators close the letter stating, “As the Subcommittee works through the process of determining how to effectively appropriate federal funds, it is our hope that you will continue your support for Section 4 in FY 2020.”

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Todd Young, R-Ind., Margaret Hassan, D-N.H., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Pa., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, Angus S. King, Jr., I-Maine, Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Christopher A. Coons, D-Del.., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The full text of the letter is available here.

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