What Would $6 Billion in HUD Budget Cuts Mean?

HUD Vouchers Lift 4.1 Million People Out of Poverty and Help Our Communities

On March 10, 2017, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the HUD budget cuts in an article entitled “What Would $6 Billion in Budget Cuts Mean for Public Housing?

“The Trump administration is considering proposing cuts, preliminary HUD budget documents suggest. The documents have left advocates searching for ways to maintain the positive impacts of HUD funding on a reduced budget.”

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.

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) 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 loss of $69.5 million in public housing funding.

It is predicted that proposed cuts would slash the HUD budget by around 14%. “HUD Secretary Ben Carson reassured staff in an email that ‘starting numbers are rarely final numbers.’”

Advocates know that critical HUD funding helps end homelessness community infrastructure programs and pays for important community services. Over the past week, experts from many of the national organizations that Monarch Housing partners with weighed in with their analysis about how the cuts will impact the progress being made to end homelessness in the United States and communities in general.

“When low-income families with kids … move into lower-poverty, safer neighborhoods with better schools, it has a pretty significant impact on long-term outcomes for kids,” says Douglas Rice, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in a phone interview with The Christian Science Monitor.

“Children are more likely to attend college, much less likely to become single parents, and enjoy higher salaries when they start work, Mr. Rice says. By some alternative census measures looking at the impact of in-kind benefits, he adds, federal rental assistance helps to lift 4.1 million people – including 1.4 million children – out of poverty each year.”

Communities rely on Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME will impact funding for programs and services at the local level.

Academic experts are also weighing in about the dangers of the proposed HUD funding cuts. “And if the Trump administration is hoping to increase public-private partnerships, cutting community development grants like CDBG and HOME may be counterproductive, explains Jerry Anthony, associate professor at the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning. The funds for these programs are leveraged to bring in more money from the private sector.

‘These programs are crucial to local economy development,’ he says, explaining that every federal dollar invested in these programs can bring in three or more dollars.”

“ … In an era of tight budgets and budget deficits, HUD has been underfunded “for a number of years,” says Robert Silverman, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo, N.Y., in a phone interview. Estimates suggest that just 1 in 4 eligible people are currently receiving HUD rental assistance because of funding limitations.”

Silverman reminds us that ultimately, Congress will have the final say about the HUD budget. “I wouldn’t imagine that there would be broad-based support in Congress for just cutting the budget drastically,” he says. “Every Congressman has constituents that they’re trying to maintain their level of funding for.” The budget goes to Congress in the next few weeks.

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.

The Christian Science Monitor

2017 Congressional Reception

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