Trump Administration’s Proposes Budget Would Exacerbate Homelessness in NJ

Sends Clear Message Around Cuts to Homelessness Assistance and Affordable Housing and Flat Funding Rental Assistance

On February 10, 2020, President Trump and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson released their budget proposal for FY 2021.

The proposal funds HUD at a level of $8.6 billion of 15% below 2020 HUD funding levels.
 
To be clear, this is just the executive branch’s proposed budget.  The federal budget is passed by Congress (and not by the President.)
 
But what does this proposed budget mean for the ongoing and increasing affordable housing crisis and steady number of households experiencing homelessness in New Jersey?  And what does it tell us about the Trump administration’s inclination to defund ending homelessness and affordable housing in the U.S.
 
Key points in the President’s proposed HUD budget include:
 
We know that the solutions to ending homelessness include increasing the supply of affordable and supportive housing and improving access to that housing.  Communities across the state have been working to implement these solutions through best practices such as housing first and rapid re-housing programs.  
 
Housing programs expand the supply of affordable and supportive housing through the provision of long-term and short-term rental assistance vouchers coupled with support services tailored to individual participant needs.  
 
We need Congress to reject the Trump administration’s budget and expand the investments in ending homelessness and affordable homes.
 
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), in 2019, a family in New Jersey would need to earn $28.86/hour (or about $60,000 per year) to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent of $1,501/month.  Although the minimum wage increased to $11/hour on January 1, 2020, this hourly wage is still far short of what is necessary to make the cost of housing affordable.  This housing affordability crisis is impacting New Jersey with the state being identified as the 6th most expensive place to live in the country.
 
The next step will be for the House and Senate to work on their draft FY20 spending bills.  Congress has agreed on the overall level of non-defense spending for FY 2021.  The funding levels in that agreement include only slight increases over FY2020 funding levels. This slight increase will not be enough money to cover everyone’s funding priorities.
 
The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate will probably begin with this year’s levels for each account.  They will identify a few program accounts where funding increases will be needed or desired. They may also identify some program accounts to cut, in order to make more funds available elsewhere.
 
You can join NLIHC and NAEH’s work with congressional champions and advocates to ensure the highest level of funding possible for ending homelessness and affordable housing investments.
 
Click here for the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Fiscal Year 2021 Federal Homeless Program Budget Chart.
Click here for the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) updated FY 21 budget chart.