Trump’s Budget Impacts Funding for Affordable Homes, the Homeless and People with Disabilities
President Trump’s budget slashes critical affordable homes resources used to help keep housed some of the country’s lowest income and most vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and formerly homeless individuals.
The following is Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s opinion piece on the budget
At a time when America’s housing crisis has reached historic heights and the lowest income people suffer the most severe impacts, proposals to further cut these vital resources are unconscionable and unacceptable.
President Trump proposes to cut overall HUD funding by 13% or $6.2 billion compared to 2016 levels. When compared to funding levels needed for FY 2017, the proposed cuts amount to a 15% or $7.5 billion reduction.
If enacted, Trump’s budget would result in the most severe cut to HUD since President Reagan dramatically reduced funding in the early 1980s. Reagan’s deep spending cuts ushered in a new age of homelessness with a dramatic increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets, in cars, and in shelters.
Years after those shortsighted and devastating cuts, a major infusion of resources were needed for homeless shelters and services. President Trump seems eager to follow in Mr. Reagan’s footsteps, repeating his mistakes and working to make America homeless again.
These budget cuts would have a devastating impact on millions of the lowest income people across the country.
More than 200,000 seniors, families, and people with disabilities will be at immediate risk of evictions and homelessness, and local communities will be starved of the funding they need to build and repair affordable homes and revitalize distressed communities.
President Trump proposes to eliminate:
- Community Development Block Grants,
- the HOME Investment Partnerships program,
- Choice Neighborhoods grants,
- NeighborWorks America, and the
- Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program.
His budget also would eliminate:
- the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies,
- legal aid services that provide the only resource available to help deeply low income people avoid unwarranted evictions, and
- resources to help low income families heat their homes in winter.
The impact on NJ, based on an analysis by the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), will be drastic including the loss of six thousand one-hundred and forty -eight (6,148) of rental vouchers, the loss of almost $106 million dollars in Home and CDBG funding as well as the accelerated deterioration of public housing for almost 38,000 residents due to the lass of $69.5 million in public housing funding.
President Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney would have us believe that their budget would continue to provide housing assistance to the 4.5 million low income families who currently rely on these resources. However, their proposal identifies only $4.1 billion of the $7.5 billion they propose to cut.
While they suggest that the remaining $3.4 billion can be addressed through “reforms that reduce costs,” there is simply no way to make up for this funding gap without directly harming the low-income people who currently receive and rely on HUD housing assistance.
Moreover, because the president proposes to reduce FY 2017 spending levels for non-defense programs by $18 billion, federal affordable housing resources could face even deeper spending cuts in the short term.
With his budget, President Trump has broken yet another campaign promise – this time, his vow to revitalize distressed communities. HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson has also reneged on 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.”
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s (NLIHC) recently released report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, the U.S. has a shortage of 7.4 million affordable rental homes available to the lowest income people. Every state and congressional district is directly impacted by the growing housing crisis.
Because of chronic under-funding of rental housing assistance programs, just one in four of the poorest people in America get the housing assistance they need. At a time when investments in affordable housing are needed to help low income families access safe, decent homes, achieve economic mobility, maintain better health, improve educational outcomes, and create jobs, these proposed cuts are deeply misguided and wrong.
This budget proposal must not and will not stand. Unlike President Trump’s plan to use budget reconciliation to reduce access to healthcare coverage for 24 million people, any spending bill will require at least 60 votes in the Senate. We will work with allies in Congress and with residents, partners, stakeholders, and advocates across the country to ensure that this budget proposal is dead on arrival. Congress must maintain funding for all critical affordable housing programs.
Join NLIHC and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding for more on how to get involved and stop President Trump’s disastrous budget cuts to affordable housing in its tracks on a webinar on March 20 at 4pm EST.
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.