Orange County will receive about $80 million as its share of the largest Housing and Urban Development budget passed by Congress since 1981.
The $32.4-billion housing budget, which includes record funding for community development and housing block grants, will provide a boost to local housing initiatives.
"This is the best budget we've seen in a long time," said Jan Breidenbach, executive director of Southern California Assn. of Non-Profit Housing.
But the funding falls far short of what experts say is needed to ease the housing shortage. In Los Angeles, for example, 150,000 households applied for Section 8 assistance two years ago and are still waiting for vouchers, Breidenbach said. Section 8 is a federal program that helps low-income families find affordable housing.
Orange County will receive $3.7 million for 659 new Section 8 vouchers, above the $58.6 million granted to fund voucher renewals for 11,685 units. Los Angeles County will get a total of about $111 million, including $5.4 million for 962 new vouchers.
Orange County also will get $5.8 million for the Community Development Block Grant, a flexible program that funds economic development and housing. Los Angeles County will receive about $44.8 million in block grants.
Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., said Los Angeles County is short about 240,000 units.
Orange County will get $1.9 million for increasing affordable housing and expanding homeownership through HUD's Home Investment Partnership Program. Los Angeles County will get $13.9 million for the program.
HUD funding also will go to the Homeless Assistance Program; Targeted Housing Assistance, which provides housing for the elderly, the disabled and people with AIDS; and funds for public-housing revitalization and maintenance.
In a separate effort, HUD awarded an $80,400 grant to the Orange County Fair Housing Council and $40,000 to the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Orange County as part of $6.6 million issued to groups nationwide to provide counseling assistance to potential home owners.