Housing Advocates Warn Federal Cuts Threaten Public Housing

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Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined other elected officials, tenants and advocates on the steps of City Hall Thursday to protest the House's proposal to cut federal funding from New York City's affordable housing programs.

In an effort to curb the federal deficit, House Republicans are proposing to slash $5.7 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's current fiscal budget. If passed, New York City will be forced to absorb nearly $400 million used to fund several low income housing programs.

Quinn said that "perhaps the most egregious proposal within the Republicans budget cuts is their call to cut $1.1 billion, or 43 percent from public housing’s capital budget."

These numbers trickle down to New York City as a loss of $250 million in public housing funding.

As the crowd chanted, "Housing is a human right, we are prepared to fight!" Bishop Taylor, founder of the East River Development Alliance, said that cuts to public housing will cripple the city's last frontier of affordable housing.

"We have thousands of units of affordable housing, for a workforce, for a community of people that is deteriorating," he said.

The proposed cuts will also impact initiatives funded by HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBC). Nearly $168 million or 62 percent of the total amount of CDBC's funds allocated to New York City will be slashed from the budget.

Eric Bederman from New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development said that "cuts to CDBG would be devastating to what HPD does in preserving the city’s housing stock and protecting our tenants." The proposed cuts threaten vital city services such as code enforcement, emergency repair, Proactive Preservation and HPD Emergency Shelter and Relocation Services.

On March 18, Congress is expected to take action on the proposed cuts. If they can not reach an agreement, a government shutdown is possible.