President Donald Trump is expected to unveil his budget proposal for FY18 on March 15 or 16, but early drafts obtained by the Washington Post and confirmed by multiple sources indicate that OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is proposing a draconian 14% cut from FY16 funded levels to HUD’s already extremely tight budget. When needed inflationary cost increases are taken into account, the cuts amount to 16%, or $7.7 billion.
Low federal spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 have already decreased funding for affordable housing and community development programs significantly. HUD housing and community development funding was $3.4 billion, or 8.4%, lower in 2016 than in 2010, adjusted for inflation.
The proposed budget would go much further. It would slash resources to repair and rehabilitate public housing developments by two-thirds, even though the public housing capital backlog is already estimated at nearly $40 billion, and an estimated 10,000 public housing apartments are lost each year due to chronic underfunding. NLIHC also estimates that the proposed cuts to rental housing assistance could result in more than 200,000 families losing critical support, and thousands of additional affordable homes for seniors and people with disabilities could be also lost. The proposal would eliminate funding for programs that promote community development and housing production, liked the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI), and the Self-Help Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP).
HUD Secretary Ben Carson wrote in an email on March 9 to HUD employees that the budget numbers were “preliminary” and that “starting numbers are rarely final numbers.” “Rest assured, we are working hard to support those programs that help so many Americans, focus on our core mission, and ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely and effectively,” Mr. Carson wrote.
The NLIHC-led Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) recently released a new report, A Place to Call Home, to highlight the need for increased resources for federal investments in affordable housing. The report showcases the latest research on how access to affordable housing boosts economic mobility, reduces poverty and homelessness, improves health outcomes, and strengthens the economy by supporting local jobs and increased wages. The report estimates that more than 500,000 jobs were supported through HUD investments in 2015 alone. It also features more than 100 success stories of how families and communities have benefited from federal investments in affordable housing.
On March 6, prior to the release of the Washington Post article, CHCDF hosted a webinar on how President Trump’s first budget could impact affordable housing and opportunities for advocacy. During the webinar, CHCDF leaders discussed a new advocacy toolkit that includes talking points, sample op-eds, and instructions for setting up in-district meetings and site visits with Congressional delegations. The recording and slides are now available online. CHCDF will be hosting future webinars on the federal budget process and proceedings and on how advocates can push back on these proposed cuts. The next webinar is scheduled for March 20, 4 pm ET. Register here: http://bit.ly/2nniw5G. The first 2,000 attendees will be able to access the live broadcast.
CHCDF has also extended the deadline for sign-ons to its letter calling on Congress and the Trump administration to work together to lift the spending caps for FY18, with parity for defense and non-defense programs, and to ensure housing and community development programs receive the highest funding allocations possible. More than 2,000 national, state, and local groups, as well as local governments, have signed onto the letter so far. The new deadline for signing the letter is March 31.
See NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel’s statement about the draft HUD budget proposal at: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/7588
Read NLIHC’s blog post with further details on the proposed cuts at: http://bit.ly/2n066E7
Read A Place to Call Home at: http://nlihc.org/partners/chcdf#report
Read the housing success stories at: http://bit.ly/2miFZaH
Sign onto the CHCDF letter at: http://bit.ly/2kZOp34
Check out the advocacy toolkit at: http://bit.ly/2mxtjNc
Watch the CHCDF March 6 webinar recording at: http://bit.ly/2lHNicV