The Trump administration released its budget for fiscal year 2019 this week, and as with its 2017, 2018, and 2019 budget proposals, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could be hit with massive cuts—a move that would be a blow to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
The proposed budget seeks $44.1 billion in discretionary spending for HUD, which is a 16.4 percent decrease from what was enacted in 2019, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Much of that—close to $38 billion—would be allocated to rental assistance programs,
As in years past, the administration has also proposed eliminating the Public Housing Capital Fund in its entirety, and making significant cuts to the Public Housing Operating Fund. The latter would fall to $2.86 billion, a 38 percent decrease from 2019.
Cuts this significant would have an outsize effect on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which is one of the biggest beneficiaries of those particular funds. NYCHA’s fiscal year 2019 budget plans for an $885 million grant from HUD’s public housing operating fund, and $523 million from the capital fund. Those grants represent a significant chunk of NYCHA’s total $3.9 billion budget for FY2019.
The proposed cuts come at a time when NYCHA is slated to get more federal oversight as part of a deal aimed at fixing years of mismanagement that has lead to deplorable living conditions for the city’s tenants. As we previously reported, the deal will lead to new NYCHA leadership and bring in an independent monitor, whom HUD and federal prosecutors will select, to hold the housing authority to strict milestones.
It also calls for the city to invest $1 billion into NYCHA over the next four years, but did not require a funding commitment from the federal government. Recently, a group of New York elected officials, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Chuck Schumer, called on the Trump administration to immediately allocate $1.2 billion to NYCHA.
Affordable housing advocates denounced the proposed FY2020 budget, with Diane Yentel, president of the NLIHC, calling it “cruel and unconscionable” in a statement. NYCHA’s interim chair and CEO, Kathryn Garcia—who will have to work with a federal monitor appointed by HUD—also vowed to fight the budget cuts.
“Once again, President Trump has demonstrated his intention to walk away from the federal government’s responsibility to support public housing,” Garcia said in a statement. “We have fought these draconian cuts before, with support from Senator Schumer and our Congressional delegation, and we will fight them again. We will not stand by as the federal government tries to abandon the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on this funding.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also decried the proposal:
New York City is @realDonaldTrump's hometown. He KNOWS how much pain his proposed budget will inflict on the 400,000 New Yorkers who call @NYCHA home. We won’t let him get away with slashing this critical funding. pic.twitter.com/BqZFe1sbbG— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 12, 2019