Washington D.C. — In his proposed FY08 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget, President Bush once again ignores the housing needs of very low income families in our country. The $35.2 billion proposed budget for HUD represents an 8% decrease from the FY07 HUD funding proposed in the joint funding resolution currently under consideration in the Senate.
With HUD reporting that 5.18 million households have critical housing burdens and the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) recent Out Of Reach study showing on average a family in our country must earn $16.31 an hour to be able to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, there is no doubt that the federal government needs to do more, not less. The Bush Administration appears to be unconcerned about the most serious housing problems of American families.
The President’s proposal hurts the most vulnerable citizens in our society by proposing cuts to the HUD programs that provide housing for low income seniors and people with disabilities.
The budget also continues to underfund the public housing capital fund, which will result in delays of necessary repairs and upgrades to the public housing stock and lead to further losses of this vital source of affordable housing.
While the President has expressed concern about income equality, his budget eliminates funds for the Resident Opportunity and Supportive Services program (ROSS), which provides funds for job training and supportive services to help residents of public housing improve their employment prospects.
The President continues to propose changes to the Housing Choice voucher program that have been unpopular with Congress and does nothing to ensure that the funds available are distributed to help those communities most in need. Funding for vouchers is flat, which means that fewer vouchers can be funded.
And while the President’s budget does not recommend that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program be moved to the Commerce Department as it had in prior years, it only includes a small increase for CDBG from the FY07 request, which has already been reduced by $1 billion.
The President did propose increases in two important programs. Homeless Assistance would increase by $118 million from the expected FY07 funding level, and Housing for People with AIDS would increase by $14 million. But these increases just continue what this Administration has done in the past: shift funds from one vulnerable population to another.
“The American people understand the need for affordable housing in their communities,” said Sheila Crowley, NLIHC president. “The President insists on preserving huge tax cuts that cost $225 billion in 2005 while asking for only $35 billion for housing. NLIHC and its partners will continue push the Administration and the Congress to redirect these priorities.”
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