May 16, 2017 by bohemiotx under Department of Housing & Urban Development, urban planning, urban studies
The Trump HUD Proposal
Trump’s budget proposal has severely threatened the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would be destroyed. Apartment rent subsidies for the poor would be in trouble too–especially since it’s a federal-only program, unlike Meals-on-Wheels. Let’s check an article from The Atlantic on this proposal–Sadly it was on March 16, 2017–my birthday.
“It also eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provides grants for low-income people to buy or rehabilitate homes, and the Choice Neighborhoods program, which provides grants to organizations attempting to revitalize neighborhoods. The proposed budget also eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates how 19 federal agencies respond to homelessness.” There would be cutbacks from two other departments: Education and Health & Human Services “How Trump’s Budget Would Impact Cities’ Poorest Residents” https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/trump-budget-hud/519870/
Carson’ s Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of HUD
However, two months earlier at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, The L.A. Times summarized, “For worried Democrats, he gave assurances that he would not try to strip programs like rental assistance and said he wanted to intensify efforts to remove lead and other hazards that harm children living in older housing.”
“When it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unusual punishment to withdraw those programs before you provide an alternative,” Carson said. Carson proposed he wanted to get businesses and faith groups more involved in helping people in HUD-backed housing, and find ways to enlarge the role of private industry in backing home mortgages. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-carson-hud-20170112-story.htmlBen Carson at Confirmation Hearing (HUD)
Apartment Subsidy Experience in Tyler
A Neighborhood Services inspector checked my efficiency–my fifth annual inspection. This time, I was required to scrub my oven and change the oven pans. Otherwise, it was adequate from my side. Meanwhile, the apartment’s maintenance man got a report on repairs–such as weather-stripping for the door and replacing an outlet. I utilized my social skills by turning down the news and turning on some Tejano music for the maintenance man and myself. A few days later, the apartment manager signed for the repair completion. We have monthly insecticide sprays too, so the apartment better pass inspection on a monthly basis to avoid fines.
I brought my annual apartment subsidy paperwork to our Neighborhood Services office, located on West Gentry & Palace on the North Side. While I waited for the Green South bus, I not only ate and shopped, but copied information on the Community Development Block Grant program.
Let’s start with the definition of how Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They “may be used for public facility and infrastructure improvements in low income areas. The funds are concentrated in the annual ‘target area’ for a variety of projects, including street renovations, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and water, sewer and drainage improvements.” Park improvements may be to create new parks or enhance existing parks. There’s also a Home Buyer Assistance Program that includes using the voucher towards buying a house, provided the individual completes Home Buyer Education workshops. Here’s the description of CDBG on the City of Tyler website, including eligible and ineligible activities. http://www.cityoftyler.org/Departments/NeighborhoodServices/CommunityDevelopment/CDBG.aspx City of Tyler: Neighborhood Services, CDBG
As you can see, these HUD programs are relatives of infrastructure repair programs. My voucher keeps me from spending over half my SSDI (disability) check in rent. At least I have one more year. I can only earn $120/month and still keep Medicare D. My COPD has improved from severe to moderate in the past year, contrary to folk belief that we either get worse or stay the same. Let’s save these fine programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by Congress voting against these proposals.
Excuse me for adding new information to a conclusion, but I received an article from Andrea Wilson entitled, “Congress Reaches Deal on FY17 Spending,” http://nlihc.org/article/congress-reaches-deal-fy17-spending We have a reprieve for the rest of 2017; none of the drastic cuts were approved because Congress wanted to avoid a shutdown. Mrs. Wilson works for PATH (People Attempting to Help), and she volunteers with me at ETHNN (East Texas Human Needs Network)–but in the housing committee. We may not be out of trouble yet, but the midterm elections in 2018 may help us. At least, Secretary Carson expressed an interest in looking for assistance from local business and faith groups, as well as private industry. Efforts to help the poor would need to come from local sources more often. Neighborhood Services has always been a jewel for the City of Tyler.