The future of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been unclear for the past few months as the new government was getting budgets and plans together, but we recently got a clearer idea of what the future holds for this department. President Trump recently released his ‘America First’ budget blueprint, which included severely reduced spending in HUD, while drastically increasing the defense budget.
In the proposed budget, HUD would see a $6.2 billion budget cut in 2018, which will be a 13.2% decrease from 2017. The new budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Program entirely. In addition, the proposal would severely cut other housing programs including the rent subsidy support under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program. Women’s Housing Coalition has used many of these programs as part of the financing when we renovated our historic buildings for housing. We use other programs to support our housing operations. This list does not include the effect cuts to other public housing and rental assistance programs on the many programs working with the homeless and low income residents in Baltimore.
What does this mean? Hundreds of thousands of low-income families and seniors will be directly impacted by this cut. The amount of housing available for low-income citizens is already much lower than is needed. What will now happen when this decreases even more?
These changes will also directly impact WHC residents and former residents. Vouchers for housing are extremely difficult to obtain, and these cuts will assuredly make it even harder. For many of our women, the next step to stable life long housing is through obtaining their own individual housing voucher. Even more significant is the fact that over 50% of WHC’s annual budget is supported through government grants. For instance WHC, relies on funding from the Community Development Block Program to provide some of its services. The elimination of CDBG grants could mean the loss of one of our five case managers. Reductions in other sources of funding from HUD would further decrease our ability to serve our residents.
To ensure that The Women’s Housing Coalition is able to continue to meet our residents’ needs and help women and children who need it most, please give back by writing your congressional representatives, getting involved locally and, of course, by donating.