Public Housing Advocates to Protest Trump Budget Cuts on April 20

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Council member Ritchie Torres denounced Donald J. Trump’s budget cuts to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which would devastate the New York City Housing Authority. Torres was joined by U.S. Congress member Jerrold Nadler (left).

By ALFREDO ALVARADO

DC 37 is part of a coalition that is mobilizing against President Donald J. Trump’s plan to cut $6 billion from the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s budget.

The #NoCut  coalition will hold a rally at noon on Thursday, April 20, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.

Under the Trump cuts, HUD’s budget would shrink by 14 percent to $40.5 billion in fiscal year 2018, down from $46.9 billion in fiscal year 2017.

Fifty-six percent of the New York City Housing Authority’s revenue comes from HUD. If the cuts go through, residents of NYCHA’s 238 developments could see their rents increased, and they will likely have to wait even longer for repairs to their leaky ceilings and broken elevators. NYCHA provides housing for 440,000 residents across the five boroughs.

Section 8 vouchers, which provide rental assistance to seniors and veterans, would also be reduced under Trump’s proposed budget.

Housing activists, elected officials and union leaders denounced the administration’s proposed budget cuts to the federal agency at a rally on the steps of City Hall on March 13.

“I was raised in public housing, so I owe my life to NYCHA,” said City Council member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Public Housing Committee.

Torres, who represents the 15th Council District in the Bronx, was joined by 200 activists at the rally.

The proposed $6 billion in cuts to HUD would terminate the Community Development Block Grant program. These grants provide funds for such programs as Meals on Wheels and are used to clean up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods.

“We need a budget that respects the values that make this nation great,” said U.S. Congress member Nydia Velasquez at the press conference.

Public Advocate Letitia James also denounced the budget cuts. “The majority of the residents of public housing are seniors, children and the working poor. Public housing is their safety net,” she said.

Manhattan Congress member Jerrold Nadler said the cuts send a message that “residents of public housing are second-class citizens.”

Under Trump’s budget proposal, direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 assistance and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be reduced by at least $300 million.

In addition, the housing program for seniors — known as Section 202 — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. And Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, a reduction of almost 20 percent.

 

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