National Alliance of HUD Tenants Oppose Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts

In response to the proposed budget cuts to HUD, elected leaders of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) demanded immediate rejection by Congress of President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request, which was released on February 12!

Budget cuts for the poor, and tax cuts for the rich is the mantra of the Trump Administration, and the GOP. 

This week the Trump Administration released its FY 2019 budget and addendum for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), proposing $8.8 billion in cuts (18.3 percent reduction) to public and assisted housing programs in comparison to FY 2017 enacted levels, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). 

Housing advocates across the nation oppose the irresponsible cuts in Trump’s proposed budget, which will have a catastrophic impact on elderly, disabled and low-income families locally, and nationwide. 

We have seen this before with Trump’s proposed massive budget cuts to HUD during 2017, which were mostly rejected by Congress. However, with the recent passage of $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the filthy rich including the Trump family, the GOP is emboldened to cut the safety-net to the bone as a way to pay off the tax cuts for the filthy rich. 

As is, the Bay Area already has thousands of homeless poor people with no place to call home. A friend mentioned lately that she will never forget seeing a homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk in Berkeley with only a little blanket to keep him warm, as he used a roll of toilet paper as a pillow. 

Trump's proposed budget cuts to HUD will make the housing crisis much more worse if enacted. 

In response to the proposed budget cuts to HUD, elected leaders of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) demanded immediate rejection by Congress of President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request, which was released on February 12. 

Eleanor Walden, a member of NAHT, is 87, a long time civil rights and social justice activist living in senior housing in Berkeley, said, “Trump’s budget and other actions criminalize immigrants, poor people and people of color while subsidizing division and hate among the American people. Trumps budget is a recipe for war, inequality, racism, and fear. 

“Congress should instead pass the Peoples Budget to embrace prosperity, peace, unity and hope for our future.” The Congressional Progressive Caucus is expected to release its FY 2019 Peoples Budget alternative in March. 

As recent as January 24, 2017, Michael Kane of NAHT, and Willie Phillips of the NAACP Economic Development Committee, were guest speakers at a housing crisis meeting in Berkeley that was arranged by the Gray Panthers, with around 45 people or more in attendance. 

Housing Crisis To Get Much Worse In Bay Area If Trump Proposals Are Enacted 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), if Trump’s budget cutting proposals for FY 2019 were enacted it would affect 138,000 households in California, by raising the rents 23% or more on affected households. The average annual rent increase per household would be $1,260, which is way more than the poor can afford, and would result in much more homelessness. 

During 2017, according to HUD, the Oakland Housing Authority had 13,422 federally subsidized housing units in it’s section 8 inventory, and 2,122 units in its low rent inventory formerly known as public housing units. 

San Francisco had 9,711 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 3,756 units in its low rent inventory. San Francisco was in the process of privatizing more than 4,584 public housing units under the RAD program. South San Francisco had 80 units in its low rent inventory.

In other cities in the Bay Area. The Richmond Housing Authority had 1,851 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 559 units in its low rent inventory. 

Berkeley Housing Authority had 1,935 units in its section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and has sold its 75 public housing town homes to some out of state billionaires. 

Alameda Housing Authority had 1,845 units in it’s section 8 subsidized housing inventory. The Alameda County Housing Authority had 6,341 units in it’s section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and one low rent housing development managed by the agency. 

In Contra Costa County, there were 6,921 units in their section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 1,177 low rent units. 

In Marin County, there were 2,162 units in their section 8 subsidized housing inventory, and 496 low rent units during 2017. 

According to the National Alliance of HUD Tenants 

“Trump’s budget will push millions of people from their homes; starve seniors, children and families; and deny health care to millions of people,” said Ed Lucas, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), who lives in a resident-owned, HUD-assisted building in Chicago. “People will die if these proposals see the light of day. Congress should declare Trump’s 2019 budget ‘dead on arrival’ instead.” 

Trump’s budget proposes to cut 200,000 people from Section 8 Vouchers next year--10% of the total-- and an astounding 37% from Public Housing operating budgets, already underfunded at 85% of needs. 

Trump proposes zero funds to address the $40 billion backlog of needed health and safety repairs in Public Housing. Overall, the $6.8 billion in proposed cuts would be the deepest cuts in HUD’s history. Trump again proposes draconian rent increases for millions of Americans who receive HUD rental assistance. Trump’s budget would raise rents for most tenants from 30 to 35% percent of income, triple “minimum rents” paid by the most destitute, and eliminate deductions that keep rents affordable for seniors and disabled people. The budget repeals Section 8 Enhanced Vouchers, which would immediately displace more than 30,000 families and seniors across the nation. Overall, rents would jump overnight an average of 20% for 4.6 million households--and an incredible 83% for HUD tenants in Puerto Rico! 

“Trump wants to cut taxes for the richest of the rich, paid for by raising rents on the poorest of the poor”, comments Deborah Arnold, 54, a minister and community activist and NAHT Vice President from Atlanta, Georgia. “80% of HUD tenant households are led by women. We, too, demand that Congress reject Trump’s vicious assault on the women, children, elderly and disabled people who live in HUD housing.” 

Trump will soon propose “work requirements” for HUD rental assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid. NAHT leaders denounced these proposals as administratively wasteful, ineffective and punitive, especially in the absence of jobs, training and resources to make them work. “Trump lives in public housing--the White House. Will a work requirement be imposed on him?,” asked Geraldine Collins, 63, a disabled, retired medical administrator and NAHT VP/East who lives in senior housing on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “Congress should make Trump do something useful, rather than tweeting, playing golf, watching cable TV, and destroying the nation’s social safety net.” 

Lucas, 59, Marine Corps vet and director of a neighborhood job training center in Chicago, added, “Trump’s termination of community development grants and cuts to job training will lay waste to entire cities and rural areas, too. These policies will truly cause ‘American carnage’.” Trump’s budget proposes complete elimination of Community Development, HOME and Choice Neighborhood grants to cities; Neighborworks, Community Action and Americorps programs that aid low income communities; Legal Services for the poor; and Low Income Heating Assistance, as well as deep cuts to job training, public education, work-study, and rural assistance programs. 

Beyond that, Trump has proposed to slash virtually every mandatory “safety net” program for the American people, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Food Stamps. Trump’s cuts would pay for a net $1.5 trillion tax cut for the 1% and giant corporations, and huge hikes in the Pentagon budget, including first strike nuclear weapons, increased war spending, and the Wall. 

Comments Rachel Williams, 62, an Army widow, minister and long time community activist in Beaumont, Texas and NAHT Board VP/South: “Adding millions to the ranks of destitute and homeless people is deeply cruel and un-American. Homeland security begins with a home!” 

Founded in 1991, NAHT is the national tenants union representing 2.1 million families in privately-owned, HUD assisted multifamily housing. NAHT’s mission is to empower residents to save and improve their homes as affordable housing. 

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) 

“The breadth and depth of cruelty reflected in this budget proposal is breathtaking,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “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. 

“The administration callously disregards its responsibility to the millions of households living in deteriorating public housing and to low income people and communities working to recover and rebuild after disasters by eliminating critical resources for public housing, rental housing construction, and community development. It’s a cruel and unconscionable budget proposal and it should be soundly rejected by Congress.” 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if Trump’s proposals were enacted: “Additionally, the plan would give HUD unlimited power to impose additional rent increases, letting it drastically cut rent subsidies for low-income Americans without seeking Congress’ approval. It would also sweep aside most of the careful rent reforms that Congress enacted unanimously and President Obama signed into law in 2016 but that HUD has not yet implemented. And it would put the cart before the horse by making fundamental rent changes just as HUD is overseeing a rigorous evaluation of alternative rent policies, with findings due in 2020.”