NJ’s Shortage of over 210,000 Affordable Homes will Increase to Crisis Levels
Last week, The Washington Post has reported on preliminary information based on multiple sources confirming that the Office of Management and Budget is proposing to slash the HUD budget for affordable homes and the safety net by as much as 14% or $6B – without inflationary adjustments.
In recent years, federal investments in affordable housing were cut significantly because of the low spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. HUD’s budget is 8.4% lower in 2016 than in 2010 (adjusted for inflation).
Public housing, community development and housing suffering dramatic cuts in Mr. Trump’s budget all of which have been hardest hit in recent years. In addition, this budget has been revealed at a time when NJ is experiencing an affordable homes crisis.
Among the proposed cuts are:
The public housing capital fund provides modernization and rehabilitation funding for the 1.2-million-unit public housing portfolio would be cut by $1.3 billion or close to a 70% reduction from last year’s funding level. These proposed cuts will dramatically accelerate the current estimated loss of 10,000 to 12,000 public housing units already lost annually.
The public housing operating fund which covers day-to-day operational and maintenance expenses not covered by resident rents would be cut by of $600 million, a 13% percent reduction from last year, and approximately 72% of what is needed.
The proposed cuts to Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans would result in more than 200,000 families losing that critical support. Many would be forced to pay even more of their limited incomes on rent, having insufficient resources left for food, healthcare, transportation and other basic needs. Others would be unable to cover the increased cost of their rents and would face the destabilizing impact of eviction. In the worst cases, these families will become homeless.
The HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides block grants for local communities to build affordable housing, and Choice Neighborhoods, a program that invests in redeveloping low-income communities, also would be cut to $0.
In total, about $4B in community planning and development grants would be eliminated under the Office of Management and Budget’s proposal.
Housing for the elderly — known as the Section 202 program — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent.
Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, nearly 20 percent.
HUD salaries and administrative expenses will be cut by 5 percent, down from $1.36 billion in 2016 to $1.28 billion in 2018.
Congress must soundly reject these proposed devastating cuts.
At that time of his confirmation hearing, Dr. Carson said, “We need to be cognizant of our fiscal responsibilities as well as our social responsibilities. Safety net programs are important. I would never abolish one without having an alternative.”
HUD Secretary Carson must uphold the commitments he made during his confirmation process to “house as many families as possible in safe, affordable housing…and look for ways to expand affordable housing options everywhere.”
He must urge Mr. Trump to reverse these harmful cuts before submitting a budget proposal to Congress.
Please join us for the 2017 Congressional Reception to advocate that Mr. Trump and Congress must lift the spending caps with parity for defense and non-defense programs and ensure the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing.
We cannot afford to balance our budget on the backs of low-income people. Instead, we must invest in the resources that families and communities need to thrive.