Stand up for affordable housing in the national budget

After fighting hard for affordable housing in the state of Utah, we at Action Utah were greatly dismayed to see the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) slashed by $6 billion in Trump’s proposed budget, including major cuts to build, operate and repair public housing for low-income and homeless Americans and successful programs specifically set up to house homeless veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities and Native Americans. These programs save lives, and cuts will negatively impact communities across the country in every congressional district, including right here in Utah.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has stated that dependency on HUD programs could become “a way of life” for recipients. Yet study after study from communities across the country indicate that affordable housing programs provide lasting economic benefits not only to the individuals who participate in the program, such as creating housing savings to cover other costs (like health care, groceries and emergencies) and turning participants into stable employees, but also substantially benefit and grow the economies of their communities by providing jobs, increasing income to local governments and improving property values.

Trump’s HUD budget cuts include:

  • Total elimination of the “HOME” Investment Partnerships Program, which provides block grants for local communities to build affordable housing, and Choice Neighborhoods, a program that invests in redeveloping low-income communities, would be eliminated. These programs have significant economic benefits to their communities. In fact, since 1992, $28.3 billion in HOME investments has generated $104.9 billion in local income. In Utah, $152 million in HOME investments has generated $5oo million in local income and leveraged $862 million in investments. Find more state-by-state facts on the HOME program here.
  • Total elimination of the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), a successful grant program that allows cities to decide how best to use federal dollars to care for neighborhoods in order to assist in developing viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate incomes. In the Salt Lake area, for instance, over half a million dollars of CBDG funding has already been proposed for community improvements (sidewalk repairs, improvements for Jordan River Parkway, and a home repair program for seniors and those w/ disabilities), homeless services and computer literacy programs for youth, etc.
  • Deep cuts from the public housing capital fund ($1.3 billion) and from public housing operational funds ($600 million)
  • Deep cuts for big-ticket repairs at public housing facilities (another $1.3 billion, or 32%), despite tens of billions of dollars in backlogged repairs that plague the country’s 1.2 million public housing units
  • Deep cuts for Section 8 housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans ($300 million)
  • Deep cuts for the Section 202 program providing housing for the elderly ($42 million)
  • Deep cuts for Section 811 housing for people with disabilities ($29 million)
  • 20% cut for Native American housing block grants ($150 million)

Here’s what you can do:

CALL TO ACTION

The National Council on State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has created this Advocacy Toolkit full of information helpful to use when talking to our MoC’s.

  • Contact your Members of Congress (MoC’s) to ask them to defend HUD and its valuable and successful programs, which save lives and improve our nation’s communities across the country and right here in Utah.
  • Constituents of District 2: Contact Rep. Chris Stewart, member of the House Appropriations Committee, to save “HOME” by submitting a formal appropriations request of at least $1.2 billion for this important program AND to by requesting enough resources to fully fund tenant- and project-based rental assistance and compensate public housing authorities (PHA’s) for their administrative costs. The deadline for submissions is APRIL 4, so CALL TODAY!
  • Schedule a meeting to talk to your Members of Congress during Spring recess. Congress has spring recess for two weeks starting April 10. Meet with them to discuss the importance of HOME and HUD programs. Invite them to properties funded with HOME and Section 8 so that they can see for themselves how effective and important these programs are. Members of Congress consistently tell NCSHA that property visits are the most important thing we can do to gain members’ support for these programs. Explain how these programs benefit your community and the impact that elimination of or cuts to these programs would have on vulnerable populations.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Congressional District 3): (202) 225-7751 (DC) // (801) 851-2500 (UT)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)

Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.

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