Maryland Families Would Lose Access to Affordable Housing Under Trump’s Budget

June 16, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog, Economic Opportunity

President Trump’s budget proposal includes significant, damaging cuts to housing and community development programs. These programs help seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities and families afford decent housing, and work to improve public health, economic, and social conditions of struggling communities. Maryland would lose more than $97 million in federal funding for public housing, the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program if the proposed cuts are approved. Such a large loss of funds would leave many Marylanders unable to afford safe and healthy housing, while also halting improvement projects in rural and urban communities.

The Community Development Block Grant Program supports projects to expand affordable housing opportunities, promote economic development, and improve public health and safety through infrastructure development. President Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate all funding for the program, a cut of $45 million for Maryland jurisdictions, leaving many communities without access to much-needed funds that help make those communities better places to live and work.

The federal funding that Maryland receives from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program is used to create affordable housing for rent and ownership. The money is leveraged with other public and private funds, and each federal dollar generates an additional $4 in investment, on average. Cuts to HOME included in the budget result in a direct loss of more than $12 million in federal funds for Maryland in FY 2018, but the state will also miss out on the opportunity to generate additional funding for affordable housing as a result.

The budget would also eliminate 5,500 Housing Choice Vouchers in Maryland, which help families afford market rate rents. Demand for this program already far outstrips the supply, and the reduction in available vouchers will leave even more low-income families struggling to afford housing. In addition, federal funds that help recipients afford their utilities are cut in the proposed budget. Those who don’t lose their vouchers may still face eviction or unsafe living conditions because of an inability to pay their utility bills.

On top of the reduction in housing vouchers, the budget includes a nearly $40 million cut to public housing in Maryland, when many public housing units are badly in need of maintenance or rehabilitation. Any cut to public housing would be detrimental to the 18,000 families who reside in publicly owned buildings throughout Maryland.

Beyond cuts to housing programs, the cuts to other forms of assistance included in President Trump’s budget, such as food assistance and Medicaid, make it harder for families to afford housing. If the cuts are approved, families will be forced to make tough choices between paying rent, paying for medical care, and buying groceries and other basic necessities.

The current federal funding for housing assistance is only enough to help one out of every four eligible families. Maryland families need greater investment in these programs, not cuts, to ensure that all Marylanders have access to affordable, stable housing.