The HOME Program is one of the five grants maintained by the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) of HUD. The grants are allocated to states and units of general local government to implement local housing strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low and very low-income Americans.
Participating jurisdictions may use HOME funds for a variety of housing activities, according to local housing needs. Eligible uses of funds include tenant-based rental assistance; housing rehabilitation; assistance to homebuyers; and new construction of housing. HOME funding may also be used for site acquisition, site improvements, demolition, relocation, and other necessary and reasonable activities related to the development of non-luxury housing. Funds may not be used for public housing development, public housing operating costs, or for Section 8 tenant-based assistance, nor may they be used to provide non-federal matching contributions for other federal programs, for operating subsidies for rental housing, or for activities under the Low-Income Housing Preservation Act.
All housing developed with HOME funds must serve low- and very low-income families. For rental housing, at least 90 percent of the families benefited must have incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income; the remaining 10 percent of the families benefited must have incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income. Homeownership assistance must be to families with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Each year, HUD publishes the applicable HOME income limits by area, adjusted for family size.
HOME-assisted rental units must have rents that do not exceed the applicable HOME rent limits. Each year, HUD publishes the applicable HOME rent limits by area, adjusted for bedroom size. For projects with five or more HOME-assisted rental units, 20 percent of the units must be rented to very low-income families.
HOME-assisted homebuyer and rental housing must remain affordable for a long-term affordability period, determined by the amount of per-unit HOME assistance or the nature of the activity. HOME-assisted homebuyer housing is also subject to resale or recapture requirements.
Participating jurisdictions must provide a 25 percent match of their HOME funds. Participating jurisdictions must also set aside at least 15 percent of their allocations for housing to be owned, developed, or sponsored by community housing development organizations.
States, cities, urban counties, and consortia (contiguous units of local governments with a binding agreement).
HOME funds are allocated using a formula designed to reflect relative housing need. Forty percent of the funds are allocated to states, and 60 percent is allocated to units of general local government. States are automatically eligible for HOME funds and receive either their formula allocation or $3 million, whichever is greater. Local jurisdictions eligible for at least $500,000 under the formula ($335,000 in years when Congress appropriates less than $1.5 billion for HOME) also can receive an allocation. Communities that do not qualify for an individual allocation under the formula can join with one or more neighboring localities in a legally binding consortium whose members' combined allocation would meet the threshold for direct funding. Other localities may participate in HOME by applying for program funds made available by their State. Congress set aside a pool of funding, equivalent to the greater of $750,000 or 0.2 percent of appropriated funds, which HUD distributes among insular areas.