Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding Releases Brief
Last summer, Members of Congress and the Administration debated whether to raise the debt ceiling — the maximum amount of money the U.S. government can borrow. After weeks of negotiation that took the U.S. to the brink of defaulting on its debt, Congress finally passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.
The resolution was a short-term fix, with Congress required to reach a new deal on federal spending by January 2, 2013-or face major cuts to programs both parties care about. If Congress fails to reach a new agreement, automatic spending cuts kick in, including an 8.4 percent cut to all non-defense spending.
This would have disastrous consequences for an already-decaying social safety-net.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is working to educate Congress about the human impact of these prospective cuts. As part of that effort, it is stepping up its role in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), a coalition of organizations working to preserve and expand funding for HUD programs. CHCDF has put together a brief detailing exactly how looming cuts would hurt efforts to end homelessness: over 145,000 people would lose housing obtained through HUD’s homeless aid programs, and roughly 275,000 people would lose their Section 8 assistance.
It seems unthinkable that these cuts could take effect, but if Congress and the Administration fail to agree on a new budget deal, that’s exactly what will happen. And with the 2012 elections looming, it’s difficult to see Members putting aside their partisan differences and forging consensus. Congress is likely to wait until the last possible second — just like last summer — and stalling too long could savage vital programs.