While Proposed HUD Budget Most Likely Won’t be Enacted, It Would Reverse Progress Being Made to End Homelessness
The 2020 federal budget proposal calls for cutting funding for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by $8.6 billion, over 16% below the enacted 2019 funding levels. If the President’s proposed budget for HUD was enacted, just a few of the very harmful effects would be increased evictions and potentially increased homelessness across the country and in New Jersey.
If enacted, these promised cuts, explained by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the proposed HUD budget, will increase homelessness by making housing less affordable for America’s most vulnerable residents and cutting homelessness assistance. These vulnerable residents include low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans and others living at risk of homelessness.
President Trump’s budget would eliminate or drastically cut essential programs such as the national Housing Trust Fund. It cuts tenant-based rental assistance from $22,598 million in 2019 to a proposed $22,244 in FY20. It also raises rents on the low-income residents who rely on housing subsidies. The Housing Choice Voucher program would be underfunded.
President Trump’s budget proposes cutting funding the McKinney-Vento Homelessness programs from the enacted level of $2,636 million in 2019 to a proposed $2,599 million in FY 20. Cutting funding to homelessness assistance would harm the progress being made in New Jersey to end homelessness.
At the end of January, Monarch Housing’s CEO Taiisa Kelly reported on HUD’s announced funding awards for FY2018 Continuum of Care (CoC) renewal projects and its positive impact on New Jersey. Almost $2 billion in funding will be made available to more than 5,800 projects providing housing and services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. This funding provides over $44 million to support over 200 projects in New Jersey. Funding announcement for new HUD funded projects will be made later this year.
CoC funding through the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance program provides support to programs serving those experiencing homelessness. The programs have a goal of helping communities quickly rehouse individuals and families while working to minimize the trauma caused by homelessness.
NJCounts 2018 found 9,303 homeless men, women and children across that the state of New Jersey on the night of the Point-in-Time Count. This was an overall increase of 771 persons, or 9, compared to the 2017 count. The results of NJCounts 2019 which took place on January 23, 2019 will be available later this spring.
While portraying an increase in funding for the Housing Choice Voucher program, the President’s budget actually cuts housing assistance. And it imposes work requirements on the most vulnerable households who rely on housing assistance but might face losing their housing with the proposed work requirements.