By Stan Keasling, RCAC chief executive officer

The FY 16 budget picture is definitely not clear. There are significant issues relative to the overall funding for domestic discretionary programs. Added to this uncertainty, there are many in Congress who want to defund Planned Parenthood. Funding for the Section 523 program and the 502 Direct Loan program is similar in both the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill, but they are caught up in the conflict over these larger issues. It is clear that Congress will not finalize the FY 16 appropriations by October 1, but it is not clear when they will pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until the budget can pass. A shutdown is a real possibility. Even a continuing resolution has an impact on the flow of Section 502 loan funds.

There is a significant shortfall in the funding level for Section 521 Rental Assistance Program, and this issue seems to be fueling a renewed call to move the housing programs from Rural Development to HUD.

On a more positive note, the National Rural Self-Help Housing Association (NRSHHA) has its annual meeting in Washington, DC, November 17 – 18 in conjunction with the National Rural Housing Coalition’s annual meeting. This year NRSHHA is also planning a congressional briefing on November 17, as a close-out event for the 50 Years 50,000 Homes campaign. If you are not an NRSHHA member, I encourage you to join and attend this important event. I look forward to seeing many of you in DC.