Washington, DC – Today, NLIHC joined NDD United and more than 2,100 organizations, more than 800 of which are from the housing and community development sector, to urge Congress and President Obama to work together to end sequestration. The letter emphasizes (1) the importance of nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, including essential housing programs, (2) the harmful effects of budget cuts to date that impact people who are homeless, unstably housed, and low income, and (3) the equal importance of both defense and nondefense programs in America’s security at home and abroad, and thus the need for equal sequestration relief. “Such a large number of signatures from the housing community shows how important it is that sequestration be reversed so federal housing programs can better meet communities’ needs,” said Linda Couch, Senior Vice President for Policy, NLIHC.
As a member of NDD United, an alliance of organizations working together to protect nondefense discretionary funding, NLIHC is boosting its efforts to forestall the possible return of full sequestration in 2016.
According to NDD United’s 2013 report “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure,” cuts to HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program because of sequestration resulted in hundreds of housing agencies across the country halting reissuance of vouchers. Up to 100,000 households were denied the chance to receive vouchers that would have otherwise helped them out of homelessness and poverty in 2014 because of 2013’s sequestration cuts.
Deficit reduction measures enacted since 2010 have come overwhelmingly from spending cuts. The ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases are far beyond those recommended by bipartisan groups of experts. However, so far, Congress and the President have not been able to agree on other deficit reduction strategies to replace the damaging reductions. As work begins on the 2016 budget, it is critical that Congress and the President find a way to end sequestration and allow the government to keep making appropriate investments in the well-being of all Americans. The President’s budget request for FY16 would restore vouchers lost by the 2013 sequester, provide resources to meet the country’s goals to end homelessness, and renew existing rental assistance for low income renters. Without an agreement to reverse sequestration, the priorities envisioned in the President’s request will not be possible.
Linda Couch is available for further comment.
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.