HUD Tenant Leaders Demand Congress Declare Trump’s 2019 Budget “Dead on Arrival”

For release: February 13, 2018

Contact: Ed Lucas 312-285-6520 [email protected] or

 Michael Kane 617-233-1885 [email protected]

Elected leaders of the national US tenants union today demanded immediate rejection by Congress of President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request, released on February 12.

“Trump’s budget will push millions of people from their homes; starve seniors, children and families; and deny health care to millions of people,” said Ed Lucas, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), who lives in a resident-owned, HUD-assisted building in Chicago. “People will die if these proposals see the light of day. Congress should declare Trump’s 2019 budget ‘dead on arrival’ instead.”

Trump’s budget proposes to cut 200,000 people from Section 8 Vouchers next year--10% of the total--and an astounding 37% from Public Housing operating budgets, already underfunded at 85% of needs. Trump proposes zero funds to address the $40 billion backlog of needed health and safety repairs in Public Housing. Overall, the $6.8 billion in proposed cuts would be the deepest cuts in HUD’s history.

Trump again proposes draconian rent increases for millions of Americans who receive HUD rental assistance. Trump’s budget would raise rents for most tenants from 30 to 35% percent of income, triple “minimum rents” paid by the most destitute, and eliminate deductions that keep rents affordable for seniors and disabled people. The budget repeals Section 8 Enhanced Vouchers, which would immediately displace more than 30,000 families and seniors across the nation. Overall, rents would jump overnight an average of 20% for 4.6 million households--and an incredible 83% for HUD tenants in Puerto Rico!

“Trump wants to cut taxes for the richest of the rich, paid for by raising rents on the poorest of the poor”, comments Deborah Arnold, 54, a minister and community activist and NAHT Vice President from Atlanta, Georgia. “80% of HUD tenant households are led by women. We, too, demand that Congress reject Trump’s vicious assault on the women, children, elderly and disabled people who live in HUD housing.”

Trump will soon propose “work requirements” for HUD rental assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid. NAHT leaders denounced these proposals as administratively wasteful, ineffective and punitive, especially in the absence of jobs, training and resources to make them work. “Trump lives in public housing--the White House. Will a work requirement be imposed on him?,” asked Geraldine Collins, 63, a disabled, retired medical administrator and NAHT VP/East who lives in senior housing on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “Congress should make Trump do something useful, rather than tweeting, playing golf, watching cable TV, and destroying the nation’s social safety net.”

Lucas, 59, Marine Corps vet and director of a neighborhood job training center in Chicago, added, “Trump’s termination of community development grants and cuts to job training will lay waste to entire cities and rural areas, too. These policies will truly cause ‘American carnage’.” Trump’s budget proposes complete elimination of Community Development, HOME and Choice Neighborhood grants to cities; Neighborworks, Community Action and Americorps programs that aid low income communities; Legal Services for the poor; and Low Income Heating Assistance, as well as deep cuts to job training, public education, work-study, and rural assistance programs.

Beyond that, Trump has proposed to slash virtually every mandatory “safety net” program for the American people, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Food Stamps. Trump’s cuts would pay for a net $1.5 trillion tax cut for the 1% and giant corporations, and huge hikes in the Pentagon budget, including first strike nuclear weapons, increased war spending, and the Wall.

Comments Rachel Williams, 62, an Army widow, minister and long time community activist in Beaumont, Texas and NAHT Board VP/South: “Adding millions to the ranks of destitute and homeless people is deeply cruel and un-American. Homeland security begins with a home!”

Adds Eleanor Walden, 87, a long time civil rights and social justice activist living in senior housing in Berkeley, California, “Trump’s budget and other actions criminalize immigrants, poor people and people of color while subsidizing division and hate among the American people. Trumps budget is a recipe for war, inequality, racism, and fear.

“Congress should instead pass the Peoples Budget to embrace prosperity, peace, unity and hope for our future.” The Congressional Progressive Caucus is expected to release its FY 2019 Peoples Budget alternative in March.

Founded in 1991, NAHT is the national tenants union representing 2.1 million families in privately-owned, HUD assisted multifamily housing. NAHT’s mission is to empower residents to save and improve their homes as affordable housing.

 

NAHT supporter Glyn Robbins at Busboys and Poets Takoma

Pno_place.jpeglease join Busboys and Poets Books as they welcome author and long time NAHT conference attendee Glyn Robbins of Defend Council Housings in the U.K. to Takoma to discuss his new book There's No Place: The American Housing Crisis and What It Means for the UK." If you are in the D.C. area please show your support by attending this event.

There's No Place was released on 16th June, two days after the appalling - and preventable - Grenfell Tower disaster. The book comes at a critical moment for the future of housing in the US and UK. The election of Donald Trump makes a property developer "the most powerful man in the world". For Americans with low-incomes, the limited help to keep a home they can afford is at risk. In the UK, housing is at a crossroads between a revival of non-market housing or letting the market rip, a choice made more stark by Grenfell. There's No Place tells the story of resistance and struggle at local level through the voices of those fighting to save their homes. Each chapter covers a different aspect of the trans-Atlantic housing crisis based on detailed field research and interviews in Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Atlanta and Washington DC.

You all may have heard about long time affordable housing advocate, NAHT member, and board present Charlotte Delgado passing away recently. Glyn, who knew Charlotte was kind enough to post a tribute to her on his website which can be viewed here

There's No Place - The American housing crisis and what it means for the UK: Book by Glyn Robbins

Gyn_Robbins.jpgGlyn Robbins is a London (UK) - based housing worker and campaigner.  His articles about housing and urban policy appear regularly in the labour movement and housing press and have also been published by The Guardian.  Glyn is an active trade unionist and socialist and has a PhD in urban policy.  This is his first book. 

Glyn is a memeber of Defend Council Housing in the UK which is NAHT's sister organization. HE has been been attending the NAHT conference for more than a decade and NAHT was excited to launch the book at this years 25th anniversary conference. In the book it highlights NAHT affiliates and leaders like Charlotte Delgado. He really tells our story-NAHT's Story!

Half of the proceeds will go to NAHT. To purchase the book you can go here or 

1. By credit transfer to - Glyn Robbins Santander A/C 16354471 Sort code 09-01-26

2. By PayPal to Red Roof Publishing

3. By cheque payable to Glyn Robbins and sent to 20 Moravian Street, LONDON E2 0NJ.

NAHT wins Fact Sheet from HUD on Tenants Right to Remain!

Another NAHT victory!   HUD has published the special Fact Sheet which Public Housing Agencies will now be required to issue to tenants when owners convert to Enhanced Vouchers.  As sought by NAHT, the Fact Sheet emphasizes tenants’ Right to Remain in the property, as long as they are compliant with the lease and the building remains rental housing.

Click here for HUD's new brochure.   It is also available in 13 languages.

At HUD’s request, a Special NAHT Task Force of tenant leaders, VISTA Volunteers and staff organizers reviewed HUD’s draft and offered recommendations in August 2016.  Much of our recommendations made it in!   Among other things, this is a major accomplishment of NAHT”s VISTA Volunteer project with Equal Justice Works.  
Thanks again to Jenny Tang from the Museum Square Tenants Association and New York City tenant leaders who pressed HUD at the June 2016 NAHT Conference, to do something to protect tenants Right to Remain!    Former HUD HQ official Amy Ginger gave a preview of the Fact Sheet, in her visit to Museum Square last October.   
Tenant leaders and organizers facing Enhanced Voucher conversions should make sure that the new Fact Sheet is distributed by local Housing Authorities and owners at their buildings.  
When we fight, we win!  

Stop the Budget Cuts!

Read up on the newest released statement from NAHT about how we need to save our homes and stop the Administration's Budget Cuts!