While full details of President’s Trump’s budget request aren’t expected to be available for a couple of weeks, in last night’s address to Congress, the President proposed an historic increase to military spending. White House officials have promised a $54 billion increase to defense spending, which will come at the expense of affordable housing and other essential non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. These programs were already being squeezed by sequestration budget caps. It is expected that the Administration’s proposal, which will shield the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, will result in cuts to housing programs by about 15%.

The impact on New York families under a 15% budget cut to housing programs is dire:

39,549 low-income families are in jeopardy of losing rental assistance across New York State.

  • 18% of New York State’s Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers would be without funding, after accounting for the rise in the cost of vouchers.
  • Seniors, disabled and children will be seriously harmed.
  • For households currently receiving assistance:
    • 38% of households include elderly
    • 22% of households include disabled
    • 33% of households include children

NYCHA will be forced into an $153M operating deficit.

  • $121.1M will be cut for public housing managed by the New York City Housing Authority. NYCHA was on track for an operating surplus this year after adopting a 10-year strategic plan to improve management and raise revenue.
  • $17 billion capital repair backlog will become even worse.

15% Cut to Key Housing and Community Development Programs.

  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, with a wait list of over 200,000 seniors in NYC, will see cuts undermining building operations for existing senior housing.
  • Homeless Grants, providing operating support to disabled homeless individuals, including veterans, will be shortchanged.
  • Diminishing services to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods for code enforcement and emergency building repairs from the Community Development Block Grant Program will be detrimental to neighborhoods.
  • The HOME Investment Partnership Program, which suffered severe cuts in recent years, and is used for new construction and rental assistance, will be further decimated by these cuts.

President Trump’s proposal, which is contingent on Congressional budget approval, would contribute to a rise in homelessness, accelerate the decline of public housing infrastructure and curb production of affordable housing.

As a former real estate developer, President Trump should know that housing should be central to an investment strategy for job creation and urban revitalization- two of his stated goals. In combination with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Tax-Exempt Housing Bonds, HUD programs are the vehicle to leverage investment from the private market and create below-market housing for struggling families. Cuts to these programs, especially at these levels, threaten to undermine the considerable progress that communities have made to strengthen and expand affordable housing.

For more detailed analysis on budget implications, see CBPP.

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