Many of us were shocked by the results of the recent election. As the federal government gets back to work after a bumpy transition, President Trump has submitted a budget to Congress that includes massive cuts to public housing, housing assistance, and community development that we will oppose vigorously. There are also threats that Congress may move forward with time limits and work requirements for households in subsidized homes. Although the chaos of the changing political environment may seem daunting, and the challenges are real, this moment also brings new opportunities for collaboration and creative solutions.
In this edition of Tenant Talk we explore how we can work together to address the potential threats to fair housing, vouchers, and the public housing budget within the new administration. This edition will also explore new areas of opportunity for affordable housing advocacy such as equitable tax reform, legislation on criminal justice reform, and the inclusion of affordable housing in any infrastructure package.
In addition to our outrage at Mr. Trump’s proposed massive cuts to affordable housing, we have concerns that President Trump selected as his top housing official a retired physician with no experience in affordable housing policy. We were encouraged that HUD Secretary Ben Carson affirmed during his confirmation hearing that he would support important rental assistance programs like public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), but Mr. Trump’s budget says something different. While we are open to working with the new administration, we remain vigilant in holding elected officials and policy makers accountable to safeguarding existing laws and programs that protect vulnerable populations.
We cannot lose sight of our values and our mission to ensure people with the lowest incomes have access to affordable and decent homes. We remain committed to our goals of preserving existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expanding the supply of low income housing, and establishing housing stability as the primary purpose of federal housing policy.
In addition to remaining open to collaboration with the new administration, strengthening existing networks and cultivating new relationships with stakeholders across various industries will be essential. Navigating the new political landscape will require teamwork among organizations across issue areas, from healthcare and education to labor and child advocacy, creating a united front in order to further common goals of advancing socially just policies.
Together our voices are more powerful. We must remain vigilant, stand strong, and fight for our values. United, we can create real change and have a greater impact for the millions of extremely low income people counting on us to ensure access to affordable, accessible, and adequate homes.
Yours in advocacy,
Tenant Talk Editorial Board
- Delorise Calhoun
- Daisy Franklin
- Matt Gerard
- Deidre “DeeDee” Gilmore
- Martha Weatherspoon
- Michael Steele