Supporters of the homeless & low-income families in the US are aghast at proposals in President Donald Trump’s budget which would slash Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) funding by 18.3% – $US8.8 billion.
The HUD budget cuts are based on 2 themes:
- Encouraging work & self-sufficiency, and
- Switching federal funding to state & local governments and the private sector.
This is how it’s expressed in the budget document: “The budget reflects the president’s commitment to fiscal responsibility by reforming programmes to encourage the dignity of work & self-sufficiency while supporting critical functions that provide assistance to vulnerable households. The budget recognises a greater role for state & local governments and the private sector to address community & economic development needs & affordable housing production.”
In short, the Trump scheme is to stop federal debt rising – US public debt has gone past $US20.6 trillion, now that the debt ceiling has been removed – by handing liability to others, or canning functions altogether. Principally, those abandoned or altered functions seem to affect the most vulnerable.
Affordable Housing Finance deputy editor Donna Kimura outlined the housing changes in the Trump budget on Monday, saying it called for the elimination of several key housing programmes:
“Once again, the administration calls for terminating the popular community development block grant (CDBG) & HOME programmes. The proposal also seeks to end the Choice Neighbourhoods programme as well as the National Housing Trust Fund.
“The White House called for many of the same cuts last year, but the programmes were ultimately funded by Congress.”
Ms Kimura quoted David Dworkin, president & chief executive of non-partisan affordable housing advocate the National Housing Conference: “The best thing one can say about this budget is that it is dead on arrival. This budget is bad policy & bad politics. It undermines years of public-private investments in housing & community development that have had broad bipartisan support, like the CDFI Fund & block grant funding for neighbourhood redevelopment. It even cuts the Capital Magnet Fund & National Housing Trust Fund, which aren’t even paid for by taxpayers.”
Ms Kimura wrote that the budget sought no funding for the public housing capital fund, which had had nearly $US2 billion in funding in recent years. Instead, the proposal is to merge the public housing capital fund into the public housing operating fund, reducing funding overall.
Attribution: Affordable Housing Finance, Trump budget proposal.