BY JON CRONIN
President Donald Trump has proposed an $8.8 billion cut from Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which leaves New York with $1 billion less in affordable housing funds.
The president’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request—which was released on Feb. 12—also proposes drastic cuts to housing benefits that critics of the budget said enable low-income seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and families with children to afford their homes.
The president’s proposal would slash federal investments in affordable homes, increase rents and impose work requirements for housing assistance, critics said.
Rachel Fee, the executive director of the New York Housing Conference—a nonprofit affordable housing policy and advocacy organization—spoke about how the significant cut would affect New York.
“Trump’s response to our affordable housing crisis is to cut more than $1 billion in housing funds for New York State,” Fee said. “Instead of investing in critical repairs to fix widespread heat outages at NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority], the president zeroes out federal funding for public housing capital. This budget is hopefully dead on arrival in Congress, but it certainly shows the administration’s priorities.”
The nonprofit also posted on its website that the administration’s proposal cuts all capital funding for public housing, and it noted that the cuts would leave the city on the ropes with a price tag of $25 billion in repairs. Trump also proposed to cut 35 percent of the budget that goes to the public housing operating budget.
U.S. Rep Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said that he was furious at the proposed cuts and noted the vast amount of heating upgrades that many NYCHA properties require.
“This winter has been catastrophic for New York residents, with more than 320,000 families left at times without heat or hot water,” Crowley said. “We need immediate assistance to ensure families are not left stranded in their own homes or forced out into the cold.”
He criticized Trump for cutting funding and insisting that it would make affordable housing residents more self-sufficient.
“President Trump’s administration is looking to roll out another round of cuts to families who rely on affordable housing,” Crowley said. “The Trump administration has proposed to all but eliminate federal funding for affordable housing in New York City. This is the opposite of what New Yorkers need. I strongly support expanding access to affordable housing and making it easier for families to find financial security.”
Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), said that the cuts would be devastating for New York families, if enacted.
“The breadth and depth of cruelty reflected in this budget proposal is breathtaking,” Yentel said. “President Trump is making clear, in no uncertain terms, his willingness to increase evictions and homelessness—for the families who could lose their rental assistance through severe funding cuts and for the low-income and vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities and families with kids who will be unable to manage having to spend more of their very limited income to cover rent hikes.”
Additionally, Trump’s budget request for HUD would eliminate two block grant programs—the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships program—in their entirety which state and local governments use to fund affordable housing and infrastructure upgrades. The president’s budget would also cut in its entirety a $2 billion annual fund that is used to renovate or maintain the condition of public housing units.