President's Proposed Budget Underfunds Housing and Community Development Programs
WASHINGTON, February 4--
Saul Ramirez, Executive Director of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), had the following comments regarding the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget:
Following last week's State of the Union address, NAHRO expressed concern that the President had not put forth a comprehensive housing strategy. We are disappointed that the President's proposed FY 2009 budget, released today, is also inadequate to address our nation's wide array of housing concerns.
In a conference call today, HUD Secretary Jackson proclaimed that HUD's budget "provides care and shelter for the most vulnerable among us." However, the budget continues the administration's chronic disinvestment in the nation's public housing. The administration calls for just 83 cents of every dollar needed for daily operations, such as utilities and maintenance. The budget also cuts structural improvement funding by $415 million, despite an estimated $20 billion capital needs backlog. Public housing is currently home to over a million families, 50 percent of them headed by seniors and those with disabilities. With proper investment, this housing will remain a critical affordable housing resource in our communities into the future. With disinvestment as proposed by the administration, this future is in doubt.
The budget also fails to support communities just as states and local governments are facing budget and foreclosure crises. As it has several times in recent years, the administration calls for deep funding cuts in the highly successful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, calling for a nearly 18% cut.
In the name of fiscal discipline, the administration has attempted to balance its budget on the backs of families and communities in need. Sadly, this unrealistic budget sets the stage for yet another budget showdown and yet another year of delayed appropriations bills.
We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to secure adequate funding to support our communities into the coming fiscal year.
NAHRO is a membership organization of 22,000 housing and community development agencies and professionals throughout the United States whose mission is to create affordable housing and safe, viable communities that enhance the quality of life for all Americans, especially those of low- and moderate-income. The association will issue a formal analysis and reaction to the budget in the near future.