Proposed $6 billion housing cut shreds safety net for low-income families and seniors

Date Published: 
March 9th, 2017

The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), representing more than 70 of the country’s largest and most innovative   housing authorities, calls on the Administration and Congress to reject the draconian proposal to slash more than $6 billion in funding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including $2 billion in cuts to public housing.

There are over 1.2 million households currently residing in public housing. Seniors and persons with disabilities constitute over half of all   residents, and there are over 600,000 children residing in public housing. Public housing cuts will fall directly on the shoulders of residents currently residing in public housing and reduce opportunities for millions of families languishing on waiting lists across the country.

The public housing capital fund provides modernization and rehabilitation funding for the 1.2 million unit public housing portfolio. The reported cut to the capital fund of $1.3 billion represents close to a 70% reduction from last year’s funding level. These proposed cuts will dramatically accelerate the current estimated loss of 10,000 to 12,000 public housing units already lost annually due to chronic underfunding.

The public housing operating fund covers day-to-day operational and maintenance expenses not covered by resident rents. The reported cut to the operating fund of $600 million is a 13% percent reduction from last year, and approximately 72% of what is needed. This funding level will have a devastating impact on the ability to operate and maintain this housing and  severely endanger the health, wellbeing, and safety of our most vulnerable children, families, and seniors reliant on housing assistance.

These cuts directly contradict the findings of the congressionally-mandated 2010 HUD study on the backlog of public housing capital repair needs estimated at $26 billion and annual accruing capital  needs estimated at $3.4 billion.  HUD’s budget does not come close to meeting the annual need  and contributes to the growing backlog need.

The tenant based rental assistance program which provides housing vouchers to needy families will also experience a $300 million reduction according to the reports on the budget.  This cut coupled with rising rents and inflation will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of vouchers and threaten currently housed families with homelessness.

We call on the Administration and Congress to reject these draconian cuts that will harm our most vulnerable citizens and undermine our already significant public investment in this affordable housing stock.

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