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Trump Administration Proposes Extreme Cuts to HUD Budget and Programs that Benefit People with Low Incomes

Federal budget and appropriationsThe Trump Administration has proposed devastating cuts to HUD’s already tight budget. On March 16, President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint that slashes overall HUD funding by 13% or $6.2 billion compared to FY16 levels. When compared to funding levels needed for FY17, the proposed cuts amount to a 15%, or $7.5 billion, reduction.

The Trump budget reduces non-defense discretionary (NDD) levels for FY18 by $54 billion below the sequester spending cap for that year, while increasing defense spending by the same amount. Defense spending gets an additional $77 billion boost through the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

The budget proposal also reduces NDD levels by $18 billion for FY17, the current appropriations year for which there is a Continuing Resolution (CR) through the end of April. It simultaneously increases defense spending by $25 billion for FY17, with an additional $89 billion coming from the OCO account. It is unclear where the Trump Administration is proposing to make cuts in NDD funding for FY17.

Under the budget proposal, gross discretionary spending for HUD would be capped at $40.7 billion for FY18. By comparison, President Obama requested $48.9 billion for HUD in FY17. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which includes Rural Development and the Rural Housing Services, would see its budget cut by 21% compared to FY16 levels.

These budget cuts would have a devastating impact on millions of the lowest income people nationwide and on the economy as a whole. More than 200,000 seniors, families, and people with disabilities will be at immediate risk of eviction and homelessness, and local communities will lose the funding they need to build and repair affordable homes and revitalize distressed communities. NLIHC estimates that the proposed budget cuts to HUD alone would lead to 123,786 fewer jobs supported through HUD investments throughout the country.

The Trump Administration states that its budget would continue to provide housing assistance to the 4.5 million low income families who currently rely on these resources. However, their proposal identifies only $4.1 billion of the $7.5 billion they propose to cut. While they suggest that the remaining $3.4 billion can be addressed through “reforms that reduce costs,” there is simply no way to make up for this funding gap without directly harming the low income people who currently receive and rely on HUD housing assistance.

The proposed budget would also:

  • Eliminate at HUD the Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, Choice Neighborhoods grants, the Section 4 Capacity Building program, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program. The proposal would increase funding for mitigating lead-based paint and other health hazards.
  • Eliminate funding for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks America), and the Legal Services Corporation (Legal Aid), which is often the only resource available to help deeply low income people avoid unwarranted evictions.
  • Eliminate water and waste loans and grants and cut staffing for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Eliminate funding to the Treasury Department for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund grants.
  • Eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Community Services Block Grants (CSBG) at the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Eliminate the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) at the Department of Energy.
  • Support programs that provide services to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In response to the budget release, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) stated, “President Trump’s budget is terrible economic policy and would be a disaster for America. Slashing funding for the things American families need most, like affordable housing, home heating, early childhood education, roads and bridges, and medical research and development, won’t even come close to balancing the national budget but will hurt countless people along the way.”

“The Trump Administration’s proposal to gut critical funding for housing, transit, and community development contradicts the president’s repeated promises to invest in America’s infrastructure and rebuild our cities,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee. “Cuts of this magnitude are as dangerous as they are cruel, especially at a time when more than 11 million families are paying more than half their income toward rent. This budget will put more Ohio children, families, and seniors at risk of losing their homes, and I will do everything in my power to oppose it.”

Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued a report detailing the severe impacts the proposed budget would have on American families and communities if passed by Congress. “This budget request is a betrayal of President Trump’s promises,” said Ms. Lowey.  “If enacted into law, these cuts would have a disastrous impact on job security; health; schools; safe, clean, and secure communities; and American leadership.  It is a framework to shift more and more burdens onto the shoulders of working families.”

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding will host a webinar today, March 20, in response to the Trump budget blueprint and will provide tools and tips for advocates to fight back against these proposed budget cuts.

We have also extended the CHCDF deadline for signing onto the 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 ensure housing and community development programs receive the highest funding allocations possible. More than 3,000 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.

Register for today’s webinar at: http://bit.ly/2nniw5G

Sign onto the CHCDF letter by March 31 at: http://bit.ly/2kZOp34  

Read Diane Yentel’s statement on the proposed budget: http://bit.ly/2mGyHuP

Check out NLIHC’s factsheet estimating the Trump budget proposal’s impact on jobs by state at: http://bit.ly/2mz4VIp

Check out the advocacy toolkit at: http://bit.ly/2mxtjNc

Read Representative Lowey’s report at: http://bit.ly/2n5KOVt