In this podcast, we’ll discuss proposed funding cuts that could cause tens of thousands of low-income families to lose housing assistance during these tough economic times. I’m Shannon Spillane and I’m joined by Senior Policy Analyst, Doug Rice.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Housing vouchers for tens of thousands — possibly close to half a million — low-income families could be eliminated under recent proposals to cut overall domestic funding.
Many low-income families living in public housing have to cope with crumbling ceilings, faulty plumbing, and other unmet repair needs, the New York Times reported Monday. The main cause is a lack of capital funding to repair and renovate the developments, most of which were built decades ago. Fixing this problem is critical to the long-term success of this essential program.
Housing has become increasingly unaffordable for low-income renters since the start of the recession, according to fresh data from several sources:
UPDATE 7/29/10 7:56 p.m. (ET): This housing amendment has been withdrawn.
The 2011 transportation-housing appropriations bill that the House is now considering cuts $1.3 billion in funding that President Obama requested — and now four Democratic representatives (Peters of Michigan, Adler of New Jersey, Himes of Connecticut, and Welch of Vermont) plan to offer an amendment to make substantially deeper cuts, including $500 million in cuts to low-income housing programs.
Today the Washington Post praised a major Obama Administration plan to preserve the nation’s supply of affordable housing, which has shrunk alarmingly in recent years even as the need has grown. While some (including the Post) have concerns about certain aspects of the plan, which is stalled on Capitol Hill, on the whole it deserves strong support.
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on an Administration initiative to help preserve the nation’s public housing units, which are both more important and more imperiled than you may realize.
As last week’s New York Times story on a new federal anti-homelessness program shows, the sharp recent rise in homelessness highlights the importance of helping low-income families afford decent housing. For years, one of our most effective tools has been the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps roughly 2 million low-income families — those at risk of homelessness as well as other families — cover the cost of renting modest units of their choice in the private market.
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