Today the Trump administration released its budget outline, or “skinny budget,” for fiscal year 2018, which proposes draconian cuts to funding for the people and communities who need it most.
As the need for affordable housing continues to grow, the administration has proposed cutting HUD’s budget by $6.2 billion, a decrease of 13 percent from current spending levels, along with further cuts to programs at the Treasury Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of the most devastating cuts in the proposal include:
- Zeroing out the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Section 4 Capacity Building Program, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and the Choice Neighborhoods initiative. The elimination of CDBG and HOME alone would mean 580,000 fewer homes created and 350,000 jobs lost over the next five years, while eliminating Section 4 would significantly diminish the capacity of local community development corporations and other organizations to meet the housing needs of their communities. These cuts would also make it more difficult to finance affordable housing using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which relies on programs like HOME and CDBG to fill financing gaps and make homes available to extremely low-income residents.
- Significant cuts to federal rental assistance programs, including Section 8 vouchers, public housing, assistance for seniors and people with disabilities and support for housing in Native American communities. These programs are already critically underfunded today, and the proposed cuts could exacerbate housing insecurity and leave hundreds of thousands of families across the U.S. homeless.
- Eliminating funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which would stifle the ability of Enterprise Community Loan Fund and other CDFIs to invest in communities that lack traditional access to capital. The CDFI Fund has been a model public-private partnership for more than two decades, which is one reason it has broad bipartisan support in Congress.
- Cuts to the USDA’s Rural Housing Service, which provides rental assistance and other housing support in rural areas. While the budget does not mention the program by name, it would cut USDA’s overall budget by 21 percent and eliminate programs deemed duplicative.
While the “skinny budget” is not an official budget request to Congress, it will likely be the starting point for the Trump administration’s future appropriations proposals. Now is the time to send a strong message to your senators and representatives that the administration’s budget proposal is unacceptable. Here are a few ways that you can take action today:
- Sign the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding’s (CHCDF) national organizational letter before March 31.
- Sign the HOME Coalition’s letter urging Congress to restore funding for HOME.
- Call or write your members of Congress. See Enterprise’s blog for housing policy contact information.
- Write a letter to your local paper or use social media to advocate for federal investments in affordable housing and community development.
- Join the CHCDF, a campaign of more than 70 national organizations concerned about funding for affordable housing and community development programs.
- Join the #CDFI Invest Campaign, which is urging Congress to support a $250 million budget for the CDFI Fund for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.
- Join the ACTION Campaign, a coalition of over 2,000 national, state and local organizations and businesses working to address our nation’s severe shortage of affordable rental housing by protecting, expanding and strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
- Join the Make Room Campaign to help elevate housing issues on the national agenda.
- Sign up for Enterprise’s bi-weekly Capitol Express and daily Community Developments news updates so that you always have the latest information on federal funding and policy concerns.
Enterprise remains committed to working with members of Congress and the Trump administration to address the country’s housing and community development needs — and that must start by increasing or at least maintaining our current level of federal investment. Enterprise strongly opposes the proposed cuts to HUD and other crucial federal agencies, and we urge Congress to reject them.
Together we have made significant progress over the past 30-plus years, and we must continue to work together to ensure that these vital programs are not decimated. Thank you for your continued partnership.
President & CEO
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.