March 17, 2017

Republicide: The war on housing

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Developmentproposes deep cuts in every state in rental assistance for families and other aid for the nation’s poorest urban and rural communities, which would increase homelessness and other hardship across the country.

Overall, the President requests $40.7 billion for HUD programs in 2018, $6.2 billion (13 percent) below 2016 funding, and about $7.5 billion (15 percent) below the 2017 levels in the bills that the House and Senate appropriations committees approved last summer. (The President and Congress have yet to finalize a 2017 budget, but the continuing resolution that’s funding the government for this year runs out on April 28.)

The President’s budget eliminates the HOME, Community Development Block Grant, and Choice Neighborhoods programs that give flexible aid to poor rural and urban communities. Altogether, poor communities would lose more than $4.1 billion of HUD funds needed to improve basic infrastructure like streets and water and sewer lines, promote economic development, and build or rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income residents. Rather than boost states’ and localities’ ability to help their residents live healthy and productive lives, the budget abandons communities that need federal resources.

 Housing Choice Vouchers that some 200,000 low-income households use to help pay their rent would be eliminated in 2018. According to the preliminary document, housing vouchers would be funded at $19.3 billion, about $300 million below the 2016 level, and about $1.7 billion below the amount that we estimate will be required to renew all vouchers in 2018. Cuts in vouchers would increase and prolong homelessness and other hardships for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.

Some 25,000 households headed by seniors and people with disabilities would lose rental assistance due to funding cuts to the Section 202 and 811 housing programs. Additional losses may occur in HUD’s other programs that contract with private owners to provide affordable rents to low-income households.

Public housing funding would be slashed by $2 billion, or about 30 percent. Public housing already faces more than $26 billion in repair needs such as fixing leaky roofs or replacing outdated heating systems and electrical wiring. Such massive cuts — coming on top of the 21 percent cut from 2010 to 2016 — would undermine the health and safety of public housing’s 2.2 million residents and sharply accelerate the loss of affordable units. (See the table below for state-by-state estimates of cuts to vouchers and public housing.)

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