Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson testified before the House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittees regarding the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget request for HUD. The president’s budget proposes a $7.4 billion reduction to HUD’s budget relative to FY 2017 enacted levels. The budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, currently funded at $3 billion, and the HOME Investment Partnerships program, currently funded at $950 million.
The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to nearly 1,200 metropolitan city and county governments and to state governments. There are 185 counties that receive these grants directly. Local entitlement cities and counties receive 70 percent of CDBG funds and states receive 30 percent. Counties utilize the flexibility of CDBG funds to support projects that address their local community and economic development, housing, water and infrastructure and human service priorities. HOME funds can be used for the acquisition, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing for low-income families.
Senate subcommittee members from both parties expressed concerns about the drastic cuts proposed in the president’s budget. In her opening statement, Senate Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated that “The funding levels proposed in this budget will place vulnerable families at risk of losing their assistance and of becoming homeless.” Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) shared similar concerns that the “drastic cuts will be devastating to communities across the nation.” Several House T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee members similarly expressed concerns about the proposed cuts during their hearing.
Secretary Carson noted in his testimony that HUD “looks forward to working with our State, local, and private partners to support them in playing a greater role in local community and economic development.” He also reiterated during the hearings that he expected improved efficiency, public-private partnerships and greater flexibility would help HUD meet its mission even with reduced funding.
It is essential that counties collect information on CDBG and HOME-funded housing, community and infrastructure projects and begin calculating the county impact if these programs were eliminated in FY 2018. It would also be helpful to invite your members of Congress to see projects supported by CDBG and HOME funding. If you need assistance in setting up these types of visits, contact Daria Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4212.
NACo will continue to work with the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees as they move forward with the FY 2018 congressional appropriations process.
To view the HUD budget congressional hearings, click on the links below: