Senator Menendez Weighs in on “Unconscionable” HUD budget
On March 10, 2017, several Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee, including Senator Robert Menendez, sent a letter to newly confirmed HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson in response the Trump administration is proposing a $6.6 billion or 14% cut to HUD programs, compared to FY16 levels.
We reported on this last week in this post What Would $6 Billion in HUD Budget Cuts Mean?
The letter describes the HUD budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration as “unconscionable” and contrary to testimony made by Dr. Carson under oath during his confirmation hearing.
“If this reported budget stands, you will most certainly be presiding over an unprecedented attack on the health of some of our most vulnerable Americans.” the letter states. “It cannot stand and, if you are to remain true to the testimony you gave under oath, it must not.”
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and fellow Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in signing the letter.
“You testified to your understanding of the real impacts that substandard housing have on the health and opportunities of children and their families, in particular how it is far more costly to ignore lead hazards than to spend the money to abate them,” the Senators wrote.
The proposed cuts to Housing Choice Voucher program could result in more than 200,000 families losing that critical support. An estimated 10,000 rental homes for seniors and 6,800 rental homes for people with disabilities could be lost, putting residents at an especially high risk of eviction and homelessness.
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.
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.
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.