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HUD Secretary Ben Carson expresses concern FY2018 budget
Kirill Abbakumov   on Friday, July 7, 2017 at 9:00:00 am

On June 8, 2017, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson expressed his concern before the House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee over the Trump administration’s FY2018 budget request for HUD. The President’s budget proposes a $7.4 billion reduction to HUD’s budget relative to FY2017 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, county, and state governments. There are 185 counties that receive these grants directly, while local entitlement cities and counties receive 70% of CDBG funds and states receive 30%. 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 are 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. Senate Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated that the funding levels proposed in the FY2018 budget will place vulnerable families at risk of losing their assistance and of becoming homeless, while 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 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.

The outcome of the testimony resulted in an advice to cities, counties, and states to collect information on CDBG and HOME-funded housing, community, and infrastructure projects. This will be needed to calculate the impact of these programs on local entities, if the programs are to be eliminated in FY 2018.