Over the past few weeks, President Donald Trump and Congress considered different massive budget cuts in order to increase military spending, leaving some fearful that the cuts could impact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As it turns out, their fears were confirmed as reports now show the Trump administration is considering more than $6 billion in cuts at HUD, according to an article by Jose DelReal for The Washington Post.
But this isn’t the first time the department has seen cuts. In 2013 sequestration, the Obama administration eliminated 100,000 housing vouchers, which Congress later began to restore in 2014 and 2015, according to an article by Douglas Rice for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
This cut would go towards Trump’s goal to cut domestic spending by $54 billion, and could decrease HUD’s budget 14% to $40.5 billion in fiscal 2018, which begins in October, according to the Post's article.
From the article:
About $1.3 billion would be cut from the public housing capital fund, under the preliminary plan — when compared to funding in 2016 — and an additional $600 million would be cut from the public housing operating fund.
And the industry is not happy with the proposed cuts. Republican political consultant Shermichael Singleton, who worked for HUD and portrayed himself on Twitter as Ben Carson’s communications director before being fired for his critical views of Trump, tweeted his thoughts on the proposed cuts.
This is absolutely absurd to me and will only hurt millions of poor Americans living in urban, rural, and Indian communities. https://t.co/ofS0zlc0S8
— Shermichael (@Shermichael_) March 9, 2017
And he’s not along in his sentiments. Diane Yentel, National Low Income Housing Coalition president and CEO, was also critical of the cuts.
Here's how to Make America Homeless Again. https://t.co/AyDMPxUEqk
— Diane Yentel (@dianeyentel) March 9, 2017
A former HUD deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, McPherson Square Group CEO Brandon Friedman, also took to Twitter to stand against the proposed cuts.
With a capital needs backlog among 1.2 million public housing units–totaling tens of *billions* of dollars–they want to cut funding.
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) March 9, 2017
And Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., sent out a note claiming this move would lead to an increase in homelessness. From her note:
Every day, the Trump Administration reveals with their actions that they are willing to abandon and betray hardworking Americans and vulnerable families. This shameful plan would slash funding that fights poverty, revitalizes neighborhoods, helps the homeless, and makes housing more affordable, safe, decent and accessible for low-income Americans, veterans, and persons with disabilities. This proposal would destroy families, neighborhoods, and whole communities.
If Donald Trump really cared about struggling Americans, he would be increasing funding to these critical programs, not planning brutal cuts. Make no mistake, this plan would result in more people living on the streets.
However, these reactions may in fact be jumping the gun. HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Jereon Brown explained the document is only a preliminary budget document, and that numerous versions are produced during the budget process.
“I can confirm that the budget negotiations are currently underway,” Brown told HousingWire. “The process is very similar to those that have occurred in previous years.”
“This is a lengthy, back and forth process that will continue for at least the next two weeks,” he said. “Normally, starting negotiation numbers are rarely final budget numbers.”