Nineteen Advocates Meet with Delegation on Key Issues Affordable Homes and Ending Homelessness During NJ Hill Day
On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, a nineteen NJ advocates went to Washington for NJ Hill Day 2017. The event was held at the end of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) annual policy forum.
“We are constantly fighting for resources to serve the needs of our communities but the stakes are higher now more than ever before. No one else will fight to make NJ an affordable place everyone can call home if we won’t fight for ourselves. Our elected officials, at every level of government, need to hear from all of us on building a thriving NJ and a reminder that if we can’t afford to live here, we can’t get our economy back on track,” said Arnold Cohen Senior Policy Coordinator at the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ.
Each visit began with a request to ensure that the members of Congress attend the July 19th Congressional Reception.
Our policy priorities for NJ Hill Day are:
- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants – Support a $237 million increase to $2.487 billion for Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
- Protecting Medicaid Expansion in the Affordable Care Act
- HOME Investment Partnerships – Restore funding to $1.2 billion
- Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers – Protect and expand the voucher program to help connect families to areas of opportunity with access to good schools, well-paying jobs, healthcare, and transit
- Ensure and Increase Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF)
- Reprioritize current federal housing spending as part of comprehensive tax reform
- Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) – Oppose any legislative proposals seeking to undermine HUD’s AFFH rule, including the Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017 S. 103/H.R. 482
- Protect and maintain the viability of the Low Income Housing Credit and housing bonds in tax reform
- Housing Counseling: Fund Housing Counseling at $60 million, the amount passed in the House budget
“NJ Hill Day 2017 was another great success! This year, more than ever, it was critical to share with New Jersey’s members our concerns about President Trump’s proposed budgets and our policy priorities. Our invitation for members to the attend the July Congressional reception were very well received. We are very grateful to those who took the time to join us in DC and look forward to working together in July and beyond to fight the cuts and create homes families can afford and ending homelessness in NJ,” said Richard W. Brown CEO of Monarch Housing Associates.
Photos from NJ Hill Day are available below and can also be viewed at this link on Facebook.
The White House has proposed as we reported – White House Proposes $18B to NDD Including HUD in FY17 $18 billion – $18 billion in cuts to Non-Defense Spending (NDD) including $1.75B from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to offset increases in defense spending in the current fiscal year (FY17).
The FY17 Budget continuing resolution ends on April 28, 2017. Around the same time, Congress will be raising the debt ceiling. In the past, this has always been a time when significant budget cuts have been imposed.
The proposed cuts to HUD funding are:
- Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is eliminated
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is cut by 50%. This is a $40.6M cut for NJ.
- Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) including Capacity Building and Home Rehabilitation are eliminated.
- Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) is cut by 43%
- In addition, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would be cut 86% and CSBG by 57%.
All these cuts are for the current year and do not replace any of the larger cuts proposed for FY18.
On July 19th we will speak with one voice, and that voice will need to speak beyond Stopping the Cuts. We need to work together to stop the cuts and to make building homes people can afford and ending homelessness a federal budget priority!