‘Foong on Finance’: Cuts in HUD Funding Mean Less Housing for the Needy

By Keat Foong, Executive Editor

This week, the House passed FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act (HR 1473) to fund the federal government for this fiscal year. Altogether, $38 billion in federal spending cuts have been passed.

HUD’s budget, which was $46.9 billion in FY2010, is cut by 6.4 percent for this fiscal year. Funding for the HOME block grant program for developing low-income housing, and the Community Development Block Grant program, will be reduced. The budgets for the Section 8 voucher and project based programs will see some increases, though less than the President requested.

The shrinkage in the federal budget, “amounting to $2.8 billion in HUD program funding, will result in low-income households losing access to affordable housing,” says the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The reductions may also mean deferred maintenance, as the National Association and Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) suggested, and further loss of housing from the nation’s precious affordable housing stock.

As NLIHC says, these budget cuts should not come on the backs of low incomes households who cannot afford housing. However, perhaps as long as overwhelming numbers of people, both rich and poor, are influenced to believe and assume that raising taxes is a bad thing, the need to dismantle the social safety net will continue to be an inevitable part of the dialogue.

Watch next for upcoming discussions of the FY2012 budget; the Republicans’ and President Obama’s proposals that will possibly put Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block; and discussions over raising the federal debt ceiling.