Housing Policy Analyst
The President’s 2018 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposes the sweeping elimination of flexible programs that states and localities use to rehabilitate and build affordable rental housing, repair and improve infrastructure such as sewers and roads, promote economic development in distressed communities, and provide essential services to low-income youth, seniors, and others. Taken together, these proposals would effectively abandon the longstanding federal role in strengthening low- and moderate-income communities.
Specifically, the budget would eliminate:
Overall, the budget would eliminate $4.3 billion in flexible resources and, for the two largest programs — HOME and CDBG — these cuts would follow years of decline (see chart). Moreover, local losses would likely far exceed $4.3 billion, as communities typically leverage these federal dollars to secure additional public and private resources. For instance, every $1 in HOME funds typically raises another $4 for development, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies.
The Administration defends its proposals by arguing that states and localities are “better positioned” to address local housing and community development needs. Yet many states and localities lack the resources to meet those needs — particularly the low- and moderate-income communities in which most of these funds are used and where economies are weak, tax bases may be inadequate, and state governments may be unwilling or unable to help, making federal resources essential.
The Administration also argues that CDBG is poorly targeted to communities in need and cites “challenges to measuring the program’s impact.” But, as the budget itself concedes, the latter is a direct result of the program’s essential flexibility: communities use the funds in highly diffuse ways depending on local priorities, making their impact much harder to assess. And, while reforms to improve CDBG targeting are worth discussing, eliminating the program would harm the neediest communities, not help them.
|Potential Impact of Selected Trump Budget Proposals in 2018, by Jurisdiction|
|State||Estimated Cut in 2018|