“Housing benefits are under attack,” or so says the National Low Income Housing Coalition as it calls on Congress to reject President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Trump’s budget gives the department’s funding a boost of 1% from its proposed budget last year, and supports homelessness by requesting a record $2.4 billion to support thousands of local housing and service programs.
However, the NLIHC disagrees, saying the budget slashes federal housing benefits that help millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, low-wage workers, veterans and other vulnerable people afford their homes.
“The proposal includes severe funding cuts, as well as harmful rent increases and arbitrary work requirements that would leave even more low income people without a stable home, undermining their ability to live with dignity and climb the economic ladder to achieve financial security,” the coalition said.
Originally, the administration released a budget that would cut HUD’s funding to $39.2 billion, bringing the total cuts over the past two years to $8.8 billion or 18.3%. However, early Friday morning, Trump signed a massive spending bill that reopened the government from its second shutdown this year.
As a result of that budget deal, the administration revised its 2019 funding request, releasing the new HUD funding request for $41.24 billion on Monday.
NLIHC’s analysis shows even with this increase, it would lead to at least 200,000 housing vouchers being lost, as well as the elimination of public housing resources and funding used by state and local governments.
The coalition explained HUD will send its proposal for the new cuts to Congress in March, and the NLIHC has launched a campaign to call on Congress to block the spending changes. It calls on its members to sign two national letters it drafted to send to Congress, encouraging it to give the highest funding possible to housing programs, and oppose any cuts.
The coalition also urged its members to call their respective members of Congress to oppose any cuts to the funding or existence of housing programs.
“All it takes is more of us – working as one – to do something extraordinary,” NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said.
Recently, one expert explained Trump’s budget is unlikely to become law and represents more of a wish list than anything else. However, if HUD is onboard with the president’s changes, and Congress approves of the department’s requests, this part of the budget can, indeed, become law.