Is HUD’s budget a disaster waiting to happen?

The question is one we all presume is true even if we cannot support it with facts. Last week the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities published a report that substantiates the failure to provide adequate funding as well as the pending crisis that could result in more than 6,510 rental vouchers in New Jersey that are at risk of being lost. The report entitled “HUD BUDGET CONTAINS MAJOR FUNDING SHORTFALLS: Congress Needs to Add $6.5 Billion to Administration’s Request to Avoid Cuts In Assistance for Low-Income Families” was written by Barbara Sard, Douglas Rice, and Will Fischer. To read the full report click here.

The report indicates that “Congress would have to provide $6.5 billion more than the President requested for HUD, just to maintain current assistance for many low-income families, elderly, and people with disabilities. This report examines the impact of the President’s request – such as the number of low-income families at risk of losing Section 8 vouchers – both nationally and by state.” The State-by-state impact is on page 14.

The key findings were:

To prevent losses of housing assistance to low-income families and communities, Congress would have to provide $6.5 billion more than the President’s 2009 request for HUD, for two main reasons.

1. In each of the last several years, Congress has used roughly $2 billion in recaptured funds from earlier years to help finance HUD programs. Such funds will not be available in 2009.

2. The President’s budget fails to provide funding increases in HUD’s three main rental assistance programs needed to sustain assistance for the low income families now being served:

To renew all Housing Choice vouchers in use, an increase of $868 million is needed in 2009 (or $1.3 billion above the President’s level, which would eliminate vouchers for at least 100,000 families).

The Public Housing Operating Fund requires $920 million above the 2008 level (and $820 million above the President’s budget) to prevent the deterioration (and ultimate loss) of affordable units.

The budget also fails to address adequately a onetime, multi-billion-dollar shortfall in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program, which risks the loss of thousands of affordable apartments for some of the nation’s most vulnerable families.

To read the full report click here.

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