In a new blog, Doug Rice explains that a recent HUD letter indicates that PHAs will likely have to eliminate vouchers for 55,000 low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities if policymakers renew Housing Choice Vouchers for the rest of fiscal year 2017 at the average funding level that the House and Senate appropriations committees approved last summer. Even worse, 135,000 vouchers will disappear if policymakers extend the current freeze on voucher funds for the rest of the year.
Whether Congress includes an increase in 2017 voucher renewal funds probably won’t be clear until the week of April 24, when policymakers return from a two-week recess to wrap up the final 2017 funding bill.
Separately, the Trump Administration has requested that Congress cut $18 billion from non-defense domestic programs in 2017, relative to the agreed-upon spending level established by the Budget Control Act. The proposed cuts include $1.7 billion in reductions to HUD programs (primarily Community Development Block Grants). The Administration has proposed these cuts to partly offset its requests for $3 billion in additional funds for immigration actions (including a Mexican border wall) and a $25 billion increase in defense funding for 2017. Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the proposed cuts, and early indications are that they are likely to ignore them in finalizing 2017 appropriations.
In a new analysis, CBPP’s Isaac Shapiro and other Budget team colleagues find that “President Trump’s “skinny” budget would eliminate four discretionary block grants that mainly serve low-income people [including CDBG and HOME], and set the stage for substantial cuts to others. As a result, it would reduce overall funding for block grants for low- and moderate-income people that are “discretionary” (or annually appropriated) programs by half or more just between 2017 and 2018.” Even if Congress declines to go along with these proposed cuts, they underscore the danger of block-granting social programs, as policymakers may again propose for Medicaid and possibly for SNAP.
Starting today, we’re explaining the value and effectiveness of Housing Choice Vouchers in our “Vouchers Work” blog series. In twice-weekly posts over seven weeks, we’ll provide the latest facts and figures about the Housing Choice Voucher program, the largest rental assistance program to help families with children, working people, seniors, and people with disabilities afford decent, stable housing.
Today’s blog provides an overview of the HCV program and who it serves, including updated demographic data for 2016. In subsequent posts, we’ll dig more into what the voucher program accomplishes. The series will be available on a new Vouchers Work page soon.