In its continued effort to reallocate $54 billion for defense spending in fiscal 2018, The Trump administration is proposing to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in a fiscal 2018 budget request that would cut more than 13% from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) discretionary spending of $38 billion. This would significantly impact every American, as massive corresponding cuts to domestic programs would reduce support for Americans living in urban rural communities.
The CDBG program is the most flexible stream of federal dollars allocated to American communities. Since the start of the program in 1974, CDBGs are one of the only federal funding sources that give community leaders some discretion in how the money is spent, with these grants being used to leverage private investment, create affordable housing, spur economic development, rebuild infrastructure and provide services that strengthen metro areas and rural communities. For every $1.00 of CDBG investment, another $3.65 in private and public dollars is leveraged. The elimination of these grants would represent $3 billion of the $6.2 billion in savings requested by the budget document.
The reported $6.2 billion cut planned for HUD will put a tremendous strain on housing authorities across the country, which manage public housing and rely heavily on federal funding. A reduction of $6.2 billion would amount to a cut of about 13% from the housing agency’s $38 billion discretionary budget. Most of that money is used to provide rental assistance to 5.5 million U.S. households, which consumes 84% of HUD’s discretionary budget.
Additional local programs slated for elimination from HUD include the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, as well cutting $35 million of funding from Section 4 Community Development and Affordable Housing, and would amount to $1.1 billion in savings.
The proposed cuts are particularly hard-hitting for the department that has been on course for a fiscal 2017 budget increase in Congress' appropriations work last year. The proposed cut of 13% from the HUD budget would be against the fiscal 2017 annualized continuing resolution figure provided by the administration. The budget request seeks $40.7 billion in fiscal 2018, down from the $46.9 billion that the White House described as the fiscal 2017 annualized continuing resolution, which is set to expire on April 28.