HUD

#BudgetBreakdown: The Trump FY19 HUD Budget Decimates Programs Relevant to Women of Color & the Poor

By: Char’Nese Turner

Why WOC Care?

  • 14.2 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Cuts represent $8.8 billion in potential lost funding
  • Several community development and homeless programs proposed for elimination

President Trump’s proposed budget for FY19 directly impacts the welfare of women of color (WOC). The budget, if implemented as written, will decimate programs that disproportionately serve (WOC) and the poor. The Washington Post reports this is the most dramatic proposed cut to HUD since President Ronald Reagan slashed the agency’s funding in the early 1980s.

Summary Table of Select HUD Programs

Source: Affordable Housing Online, www.affordablehousingonline.com

Other important programs targeted for reduction or elimination include:

  • 977 million (4.8%) cut to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
  • $1.6 billion (44%) cut to the Public Housing Operating Fund
  • $950 million (100%) cut to the HOME program

The elimination of CDBG is proposed, as the budget asserts, because it falls under the category of programs that “are duplicative or have failed to demonstrate effectiveness.” Supporters of the program state the contrary. In fact, many CEOs and mayors say the CDBG program is vital to the operations of communities across the U.S.

Funding is available for states and local governments and may be used for purposes authorized by Congress. Permissible uses include disaster recovery, grant funds to states and local governments to increase homeownership for the lowest-income Americans, and support for neighborhood redevelopment. Under the Trump proposal, states and local governments would lose $3 billion, which allows communities to leverage as investment for development and other purposes.

Stephen Glaude, CEO of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development told CNBC, “It’s the life blood for many cities. To come in and blatantly eliminate these programs because you’re trying to meet a budget number without talking to the stakeholders, the constituents of these programs, is a little concerning. In fact, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s actually alarming.” Implicit within Glaude’s concerns is the suggestion that considering the benefit, compared to the harm, the costs of the program are less than the $1.5 trillion projected cost of the recently enacted Trump tax plan.

Public Housing. The proposed 44 percent cut to the public housing operations fund will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of public housing units. According to one HUD source, there are approximately 1.3 million units of occupied public housing managed by some 3,400 public housing authorities. The budget does not specifically address alternative housing for those families that would be displaced. Additionally, cuts to the public housing capital fund means remaining properties will have insufficient resources for maintenance and repair. The cuts would come on top of the administration’s proposal to raise the rent for low-income families receiving public housing help.

Section 8. The Trump budget proposal includes cuts to the federal housing subsidy program also (known as Section 8) by nearly $1 billion. This means more than 250,000 low-income families would lose their housing assistance, joining the numbers of those who would be displaced because of reductions in public housing units.

An article written by Jeff Andrews for www.curbed.com provides extensive reference links and insights that confirm the harsh realities associated with escalating housing costs and the growing shortage of low-income housing. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also reports on housing issues relevant to the elderly. Considering the many challenges the U.S. faces regarding ensuring access to low-income and affordable housing, as well as addressing the complex issues associated with homelessness, Andrews reports the president’s FY19 budget proposal contradicts findings related to national housing needs.

EnVision Centers. The FY19 budget does include an intriguing self-sufficiency initiative that would be piloted in Detroit, Michigan. The city will serve as home to the first of 10 sites that will be part of this demonstration. EnVision Centers will provide communities with a centralized hub for HUD’s four pillars of self-sufficiency: 1) Economic Empowerment; 2) Educational Advancement; 3) Health and Wellness; and 4) Character and Leadership. The budget states, “Through partnerships with non-profits, corporations, and State and local governments, these EnVision Centers would leverage private and public resources for maximum community impact.” It is unclear at this time how much funding is proposed to support this initiative.