(Update June 2005)
In the administration’s FY06 budget, most of the housing and community development programs face cuts of about $3.7 billion, resulting in an11.5 percent decrease from last year’s budget. Much of those cuts would come from a large reorganization plan that would transfer the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) with other programs to the Commerce Department. The largest increase is in the Housing Choice Voucher program. Other programs such as Public Housing, HOME and Homelessness Assistance would also see increases over ’05 levels.
Here are Some of HUD's Programs and How They are Affected
The Administration’s budget increases the Housing Choice Voucher program by $1.1 billion over ’05 funding. As the overall HUD budget shrinks, vouchers which support 2 million families with housing assistance consumes a greater share of the diminishing dollars. While not part of the budget, the administration is once again proposing changes to the structure of the program turning it into a block grant to public housing agencies.
The Public Housing Operating funds are increased from ’05 (but not to the levels of ’04). The Capital fund (which maintains the buildings) is cut as it was in ’05 with less money ear-marked for the set-aside program Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency Program (ROSS) and the emergency capital needs fund in case of emergencies and/or natural disasters.
Once again, the FY06 budget would zero out the HOPE VI program. Congress opposed the President’s request to eliminate the program in FY04 and ‘05 and reauthorized the program. This budget also seeks to rescind the ’05 appropriation.
The HOME program would receive a small increase but would require more money for the American Dream down payment initiative.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), along with 17 other programs will receive a cut of 40% and be moved to the Commerce Department.
The existing Homeless Assistance programs would receive a 16 percent increase from FY05.
Other HUD Programs
Funding for housing for people with disabilities (Section 811), Housing Opportunities for People With Aids (HOPWA), Lead Hazard Reduction fund, and Fair Housing would be cut. Seniors (Section 202) would be flat funded.
The Catholic bishops support a national housing policy that includes: preservation and production of quality housing for low-income families, the elderly and other vulnerable people; as well as the participation and partnership of residents, nonprofit community groups, and churches to build and preserve affordable housing. Churches, community groups, the private sector, and state and local government must all do more to meet our common responsibility for housing. However, there is no substitute for an involved, competent, and committed federal government. (Homelessness and Housing, 1988)
The FY’06 budget for most of the housing and community development programs will be determined by the Congressional Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and HUD, the Judiciary, District of Columbia (TTHUD). The markup for the House Subcommittee is scheduled for June 15.
Housing advocates will be working with all members of the new subcommittee chaired by Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) to ensure that the funds included in the President’s FY06 budget request for the voucher program and homeless assistance are not cut. Additionally, funding for other programs, including public housing, Section 811—Housing for People with Disabilities, Housing for Persons with AIDS, and fair housing needs to be restored. And finally, Congress needs to fully fund CDBG as an integral part of HUD programs.
Urge Members of Congress to continue the rental assistance program for the lowest income families and to provide the cities, municipalities, states, and community groups the financial wherewithal to establish and maintain the neighborhood infrastructure of low-income communities. (See Capitol Hill notes for more details.)
For More Information
Thom Shellabarger at the USCCB, 202 541 3189 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Rice, Catholic Charities USA 703 549 1390 X195 or drice@CatholicCharitiesUSA.org