Budget reductions are a hot topic in Washington right now, and if two bills from the House and Senate are any indication, funds for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could be in danger.
HUD funds are not the only housing-related finance to come under fire amidst calls for fiscal responsibility. Foreclosure programs and even the famous mortgage interest tax deduction have received repeated threats for cuts.
Danger to the HUD funds, though, is more immediate; any day, now, the Senate could be voting on S. 1596, a bill that, among other things, cuts overall HUD funding by 10 percent, reduces the Public Housing Capital Fund by 22 percent and cuts the Tenant Based Rental Assistance account to the point that thousands of households could lose their assistance vouchers. All the cuts, reports the National Low Income Housing Coalition, are markedly lower than the White House’s initial requests for funds.
Other programs facing cuts include: the HOME Investments Partnership Program, which would face a 38 percent cut; Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, which would be cut by 51 percent; and Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, which would be cut 23 percent below the White House’s request.
The cuts have inspired particularly strong reactions in Chicago, which would lose $73 million in HUD funding if the Senate bill is passed.
Last week, one of the city’s alderman, Joe Moore, called a special hearing to both protest the cuts and introduce a resolution to maintain HUD funding for 2012.
“This hearing is just one small step in that effort to cast a light on the painful impact that these cuts will have on the citizens and the residents of Chicago,” Moore said. “These cuts are coming at a very critical time.”