Advocacy Resource | September 19, 2012
Protecting HUD Programs from Sequestration: Congressional Talking Points
The sequestration of federally-funded housing and community development programs would severely impact the provision of safe, decent, and affordable housing and necessary supportive services, and the development and recovery of vibrant communities.
Protecting low-income programs. In the Budget Control Act, Congress exempted numerous programs from sequestration, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and SSI, on the basis that they serve our nation’s lowest-income people. HUD programs, particularly those focused on affordable housing and homelessness, serve the same purpose. The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) estimates that sequestration would negatively affect approximately 440,000 households and an additional 1.1 million people by decreasing affordable housing opportunities and community development services. These households and individuals are low and moderate income renters and homeowners in urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and people experiencing homelessness.
HUD has been hit hard enough. In recent fiscal years, many HUD programs have received cuts or have gone year after year without much-needed increases. Many programs, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, are struggling to simply allow people who already receive this help to keep their housing. These programs cannot afford further cuts if they are to continue serving those in need. The need for affordable housing and community development services far exceeds what current funding levels can provide, and sequestration would accelerate the growth in the number of households in need.
Investing in our communities. Investment in safe, decent and affordable housing and more vibrant communities improves child well-being, enhances educational achievement, improves health, lowers crime, and increases employment access and stability. It also creates jobs and assists in economic recovery. In contrast, 8.2 percent cuts to housing and community development programs will result in increased costs for federal, state, and local governments as a result of evicting households from federally supported housing, who will then be forced to access emergency shelter and other services; eliminating employment opportunities for low income households; allowing affordable housing to deteriorate and degrade neighborhoods; and halting economic growth of neighborhoods.
Congress should prevent further cuts in non-defense, discretionary spending for affordable housing and targeted homeless assistance programs. Sequestration would have a devastating impact on efforts to end homelessness. Affordable housing and homeless assistance programs play a critical role in improving individuals’ and families’ outcomes and have already gone under- or un-funded for several years. Reversing or lessening the additional non-defense, discretionary cuts mandated under the Budget Control Act would protect these key programs that prevent and end homelessness.
Many of these talking points come from the CHCDF (a coalition of organizations focused largely on increasing HUD funding and of which the Alliance is a Steering Committee member) report on sequestration, which can be found here.