Today, President Trump released his Budget Blueprint, which provides the first portion of his FY 2018 budget request to Congress. The blueprint released this morning contains devastating cuts to vital HUD rental assistance and community development programs. The President’s budget would provide only $40.7 billion for HUD, which is $6.2 billion or a 13.2 percent decrease from the FY 2017 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) level. The President justifies these cuts by seeing a greater role for states, local governments and the private sector in addressing community and economic development needs.
Of particular note, the Budget Blueprint only focuses on top level funding and offers very few details on specific program funding levels. Additional information on other program specific funding will we understand be available once the President releases his full budget request in May.
The Budget Blueprint:
- Provides over $35 billion for HUD’s rental assistance programs.
- Eliminates funding ($3 billion) for the Community Development Block Grant program.
- Eliminates funding ($1.1 billion) for HOME Investment Partnerships, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program.
- Provides $130 million to promote healthy and lead-safe homes.
- Eliminates funding ($35 million) for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing.
- Eliminates funding for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks America) and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH.)
NAHRO is deeply concerned about and will speak against the proposed zeroing out of the HOME, CDBG, and Choice Neighborhoods programs. All have played an important role in ensuring decent, safe, and affordable housing in safe, vibrant communities. We will also speak out against the defunding of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and NeighborWorks America. Alternatively, we are encouraged that $130 million is included in the Blueprint to promote healthy and lead-safe homes. This is a responsible first step. We support Secretary Carson’s interest and his focus on the health and safety of residents assisted under HUD programs and we will in particular continue to speak about the importance of addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance created by reductions to both the Public Housing Capital and Operating accounts over many years.
While the President’s budget proposal marks an important step that sets the tone for the budget and appropriations process, it is primarily a political document that does not carry the force of law. Congress controls the nation’s purse strings and can choose to adopt or ignore the proposal.
For FY 2018, Congress will release funding allocations for all 12 appropriations bills, known as a 302(b) table. NAHRO urges members to educate and inform decision makers on the critically important need nationwide for HCD funding and the need to approve the highest possible 302(b) allocation for the FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill. You can make your feelings known by sending a letter of support by signing onto a national letter to appropriators today.
But before Congress can take up FY 2018 appropriation, it must first complete FY 2017 funding. The current CR is set to expire on April 28, 2017 and Congress must either extend the CR or preferably complete a FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill by that date.