On Friday, tenants, homeowners and activists came together in more than 15 cities across the U.S. to band against the proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Some protesters gathered at rallies at local HUD offices as others delivered letters and petitions to their members of Congress, demanding they vote against President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts. Tenants will gather at Church of the Reformation, 212 E Capitol Street, NE, at 12:30 on Wednesday to rally and kick off the march.
The event was organized by the #Nocuts Coalition, a group of more than 40 organizations across the U.S. Members of the coalition include People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, Right to the City Alliance, Homes for All, Community Voices Heard, New York Communities for Change, MHAction, Tenant Union of Washington State, Homes For All Nashville, Baltimore Housing Roundtable, United Workers, ARISE, One Northside, Jane Adams Senior Caucus, Housing Justice League and Miami Workers.
“In Trump's America housing is not a right,” said Sheila Cummings, a member of New York Communities who is currently homeless. “Trump is looking to cut over $7 billion in Housing and Urban Development programs that help the poor and most vulnerable Americans. His budget for HUD is also putting people at risk of becoming homeless.”
“I was evicted from apartment earlier this year after my husband passed away and fell behind on the rent,” Cummings explained. “I've been stuck in the shelter system since then and I see no way out. I am employed but can't afford the rents available.”
“If Peter King and Donald Trump go forward with these cuts more tenants will end up being homeless just like me,” she said. “Homelessness is increasing in Nassau County I don't think any budget should risk putting thousands of more people into this position. We are telling Peter King and Donald Trump now: no cuts in HUD and no tax breaks for Wall Street.”
Other members of the homeless community also spoke out, but they weren’t the only ones. Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke in Washington D.C. for the Save HUD 202 Rally.
“It is an absolutely critical time for all of you to be in Washington, D.C.,” Waters said in her prepared remarks. “It’s time to sound the alarm. We are up against a president who does not care about housing security for our nation’s seniors. We are up against a president who has proposed dangerous cuts to, or eliminations of, important housing programs.”
She explained many programs set to be eliminated are essential to the lower-income senior population. One program, the Supportive Housing for the Elderly, is the only HUD program dedicated solely toward providing affordable housing for low-income elderly households.
Click here to see a list of programs the proposed budget would eliminate including NeighborWorks America and 19 independent agencies.
“As ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, I am committed to fighting these shameful cuts,” Waters said. “And of course, I’m not alone in this fight. All of you here today are right there with me in opposing these funding cuts.”
“You have all been on the front lines of demonstrating how bad these cuts would be,” she said. “Please let your community members know about the harmful plans that the Trump administration has for these important housing programs and how those plans will impact them.”
However, HUD Secretary Ben Carson previously explained he is in favor of the cuts, saying it promotes fiscal responsibility.
“The discretionary budget plan released today by President Trump aligns with Agency plans to provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable households and to help families achieve self-sufficiency,” Carson said after the administration released its budget proposal.