On February 3rd the House of Representatives launched its long anticipated assault on housing and community development programs. The House Budget Committee proposed setting FY11 spending caps for domestic discretionary programs at FY08 levels, dramatically lower than current funding levels.To meet these caps and impose additional cuts, the House Appropriations Committee announced its plan to cut the Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee’s funding allocation by 18%. This is below the President’s FY11 budget request and 17% below FY10 levels, the level at which programs are now being funded under the continuing resolution. These cuts would reduce HUD’s share of the THUD budget, causing hundreds of thousands of households currently housed through HUD programs to lose their housing. Cuts at these levels would devastate HUD programs serving the lowest income, most economically vulnerable households. HUD announced this week that the number of households experiencing worst case housing needs, defined as very low income renter households paying more than half of their income for housing or having other significant housing problems, increased by 20% between 2007 and 2009.
During his State of the Union Address on January 25th, President Obama stated that the budget should not be balanced on the backs of America's poorest, most vulnerable citizens. But with the planned cuts to social services, that is exactly what is about to happen. Upwards of 750,000 HUD housing choice vouchers may be lost as a result of planned budget cuts. This could result in Washington, DC losing 5,000 of its 11,000 vouchers. We are requesting that you dedicate a sufficient amount of funding to domestic social programs like HUD.
HUD programs must be funded at FY10 levels at a minimum, AND:
Three HUD programs must be funded at higher than FY10 levels to prevent households from being evicted from affordable housing:
1 -- The tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher program requires more than $900 million over FY10 levels for renewals.
2 -- The project-based rental assistance program requires more than $655 million over FY10 levels for renewals.
3 -- The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants requires more than $190 million over FY10 levels.
We hope and trust that you will give these recommendations serious consideration and will not allow the least among us to go without their most basic human needs -- including, but not limited to, housing.
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