Writes Yentel, “After the tax bill passed, we said (along with many others) that the law will exacerbate our country’s yawning income inequality and harm efforts to end homelessness and housing poverty. We predicted that massive increased deficits created by the tax cuts would threaten vital housing and community development programs with deep spending cuts. Sure enough, just seven weeks after enacting deep tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations, the administration has pivoted to propose immense spending cuts for programs that meet the basic and urgent needs of the lowest income and most vulnerable people throughout the country.”
While it is likely that Congress will not approve the Trump Administration’s spending cuts to the federal government’s safety net, Yentel reminds advocates that “The president intends for the nation’s lowest income seniors, people with disabilities and low wage workers to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and bloated military spending.”
The President’s proposed budget includes cutting U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding by $8.8 billion, an 18% cut, which will certainly increase evictions and homelessness. If funding for the housing choice voucher program is cut, low-incomes could lose the rental assistance that they rely on to afford their homes.
“If enacted, the budget would result in the most severe and sudden cuts to HUD spending since President Reagan dramatically slashed its funding in the early 1980s. Reagan’s deep spending cuts ushered in the modern phenomenon of homelessness with a dramatic increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets, in cars, and in shelters. Years later, a major infusion of resources was needed to manage the newly created homelessness crisis.”
Affordable housing programs are already facing a crisis of being underfunded. Across America, only one in every five families in need of housing assistance receive the help that they need.
“Those receiving affordable housing subsidies literally won a housing lottery. Over 8 million deeply poor households receive no assistance and live in housing poverty. They are one illness, one broken-down car, one missed day of work away from homelessness. They face threats of eviction and poor housing conditions and are severely cost-burdened, paying over half of their limited incomes towards rent each month.”