There is a significant typo on the cover of the Administration’s FY 2020 proposed budget. It suggests that the budget is for a “Better America,” when little in the budget supports the real needs of millions of people across the country.
It is not “better” for the seniors, veterans, and low-income and working families who have few housing options other than the homes that receive some form of federal support. It does not make sense to eliminate funding that will repair public housing units and help to create new moderate-rate housing. It does not make sense to reduce the Homeless Assistance Grant funds that give local shelter providers the resources to take our veterans, seniors, and families with children off the street.
These programs are more important than ever. Multiple studies have quantified the housing affordability crises that many of us see in our cities and towns nationwide: median housing costs have outpaced incomes, waiting lists are growing, and our precious affordable housing stock continues to dwindle under the weight of age and a decreasing federal commitment.
Housing is as vital a part of the nation’s infrastructure as its roads, bridges, and dams. The HOME Investment Partnerships program funds new construction and housing rehabilitation, along with tenant-based rental assistance. Also, investing in our communities is a strong economic development strategy. Every dollar of CDBG funding leverages another $3.65 in public and private dollars, and every dollar of HOME funding leverages $4.20 of public and private money.
We appreciate the budget’s consideration of local community needs, but note that such programs also require an appropriate level of resources and support for families to succeed.
For yet another year, NAHRO and its 20,000 members, who house more than 7.9 million individuals nationwide and who make communities stronger, will now look to the Congress to craft a budget that does actually help America become better.
Contact: Sylvia Gimenez