|HUD No. 00-114|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||May 25, 2000|
CUOMO SAYS HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ACTION ON
HUD BUDGET IS "A STEP BACKWARD FROM COMPASSION AND COMMON SENSE"
WASHINGTON Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today urged rejection of a House subcommittees action on HUDs fiscal year 2001 budget, saying cuts to housing, community development and economic development say "no to compassion, no to common sense."
"Our prosperity creates a unique opportunity to address the needs of the people who have been left behind in this booming economy. The Subcommittees budget is a giant step backward in our efforts to address poverty and the shortage of affordable housing. It says "no" to that opportunity, says "no" to any stepped-up efforts to address those crises and says "no" to the victims of these crises. This country has a record 5.4 million families who pay more than half their income each month for rent. Yet this budget will not result in a single new voucher. The vast majority of Americans are calling for a reduction in gun violence. Yet this budget refuses to fund HUDs gun violence prevention programs.
"Ironically, President Clinton and Speaker Hastert this week reached bipartisan agreement on a bold, innovative program to help those places in America our booming economy has left behind. This budget, however, will only leave those places even further behind."
Cuomo said that the spending plan by the House
- Says "NO!" to Community Renewal/New
Markets Agreement. On Tuesday, President
Clinton and Speaker Hastert announced that they had reached a bipartisan
agreement with Congressional leaders on the New Markets and Community Renewal
legislative initiative. Yet, on the very same day as this historic, bipartisan
announcement, the House subcommittee approves a budget that cuts many of
the elements of that initiative: It fails to provide any of the $37 million
for APIC the President had requested; rejects $22 million earmarked to
help communities in the Mississippi Delta; cuts funding for "brownfields"
redevelopment; slashes funding for housing and economic development in
rural communities; and, eliminates some $20 million in funding to assist
faith-based and community organizations in their efforts to supply affordable
housing, create economic opportunity, promote fair housing or to increase
the effectiveness of HUD programs like Section 8 rental assistance.
- Says "NO!" to increasing the
supply of affordable housing. A record
5.4 million unassisted, low-income households in this country have "worst-case"
housing needs and spend over 50 percent of their income on rent. But the
House budget proposal fails to fund the Administrations request for
120,000 incremental rental assistance vouchers, including 10,000 vouchers
for housing production of the first new affordable housing for families
since 1996. The expected result will be even more families with "worst-case"
- Says "NO!" to better public
housing. Reflecting a bipartisan
consensus, HUD has made significant progress in transforming the nations
public housing stock, correcting the fundamental mistakes symbolized by
projects like the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago and reconnecting public
housing complexes to the larger economies around them. This spending plan
stops that progress in its tracks, failing to provide $54 million in much-needed
operating subsidies, $60 million in HOPE VI funds to revitalize distressed
housing, and $155 million in public housing modernization funds.
- Says "NO!" to local efforts
to use federal dollars to develop communities. HUDs Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is among
the most flexible of federal programs, allowing local officials to use
federal dollars to meet a wide variety of community priorities, from redeveloping
downtown areas to modernizing parks and playgrounds, from laying down water
and sewer lines to opening after-school recreation programs, from repairing
dilapidated senior centers to assisting local entrepreneurs to start a
new business, from sheltering the homeless or abused spouses to rehabilitating
homes. The Subcommittee would cut the Presidents CDBG request by
$395 million, including a $303 million cut to the funding provided directly
to local communities.
- Says "NO!" to homeownership. HUDs innovative HOME program provides funding
to state and local governments as well as Indian tribes to help them acquire,
rehabilitate or build affordable housing. Thousands of communities use
HOME dollars to promote homeownership, either by providing homebuyers with
down payment assistance or by using the dollars to repair existing units
or produce new ones for purchase. The Subcommittee cuts proposed HOME funding
by $65 million.
- Says "NO!" to delivery of vital
services. As part of its effort to
transform itself into an agency which better serves the American people,
HUDs streamlining already has included significant staff reductions.
The Subcommittees spending plan would eliminate up to 800 positions
- 9% of HUDs workforce. Many of these civil servants have 20 or 30
years of experience in the federal service and many of them the only staff
members assigned to our smaller offices. In addition to the detrimental
effects these reductions in force will have on HUDs customers, reductions
in overhead spending will impose severe supply shortages and travel restrictions
on the agency, significantly impeding HUDs ability to perform and
monitor the very functions Congress has expressly mandated.
- Says "NO!" to the homeless. There are more than 600,000 American families in
any month who do not have a roof over their heads. The Subcommittees
plan fails to provide $180 million in funds requested under the McKinney
Act to once and for all give them a place they can call home.
- Says "NO!" to the elderly. As "baby boomers" reach
retirement age, our nation is growing older. In response, the Administration
proposed an innovative "continuum of care" that would insure
that the full range of the housing needs of the elderly from maintaining
their own homes to assisted living are provided. The Subcommittee
not only rejected that proposal, but, notwithstanding the growth of our
elderly population, refused to provide some $69 million requested for HUDs
elderly housing program, Section 202.
- Says "NO!" to people with AIDS. The nations AIDS caseload continues to rise.
HUDs Housing for People with AIDS program provides for the housing
needs of this population. Notwithstanding the rising demand, the Subcommittee
has provided no new funding for the HOPWA program.
- Says "NO!" to gun safety. The American people want to reduce gun violence.
But the subcommittees budget plan refuses to fund the Community Gun
Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative, a $30-million initiative, funded
as part of the Drug Elimination Grant program, to help address the critical
issue of gun violence in and around the communities HUD serves. The initiative
would fund 1) public education and outreach programs to promote responsible
gun ownership and address the hazards posed by firearms; 2) technical assistance
and matching funds to implement innovative, performance-driven gun violence
reduction programs, and 3) support for state-of-the-art computerized gun-violence
tracking and mapping partnerships to provide critical information about
instances of gun-related violence to help law enforcement agencies in their
gun-violence reduction initiatives.
- Says "NO!" to the war on drugs. For too many years, public housing
residents have been terrorized by the prevalence and violence
of the drug trade in their complexes. Thanks to HUDs Drug Elimination
Grants for Low-Income Housing, authorities in cities large and small have
finally begun to turn the tide in the battle against drug dealers. Notwithstanding
their success, the Subcommittee has cut drug elimination funds by some