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Thread: Bush plans sharp cuts in HUD community efforts

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Bush plans sharp cuts in HUD community efforts

    With our affordable housing crises, this has to be a joke! I found this in the Washington Post:


    Bush Plans Sharp Cuts in HUD Community Efforts

    By Jonathan Weisman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 14, 2005; Page A01

    The White House will seek to drastically shrink the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $8 billion community branch, purging dozens of economic development projects, scrapping a rural housing program and folding high-profile anti-poverty efforts into the Labor and Commerce departments, administration officials said yesterday.

    The proposal in the upcoming 2006 budget would make good on President Bush's vow to eliminate or consolidate what he sees as duplicative or ineffective programs. Officials said yesterday that economic development programs are scattered too widely in the government and have proved particularly ineffectual at HUD.



    Rep. Barney Frank calls the proposal "just appalling." (File Photo)


    Advocates for the poor, however, contended that the White House is trying to gut federal programs for the poorest Americans to make way for tax cuts, a mission to Mars and other presidential priorities. Administration officials would not say how much the consolidation would save, but it could lead to steep funding cuts. That is because the HUD programs would have to compete for resources in Commerce and Labor budgets that are not likely to expand to accommodate the shuffle.

    "I'm always willing to look at consolidation, but clearly they're using consolidation as a shield for substantial budget reductions," said Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over housing and community development programs.

    The plan was detailed in a December memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget to HUD. The document provides one of the first concrete examples of the types of cuts in the works as the administration comes to grips with a soaring deficit.

    "The purpose of the exercise has nothing to do with achieving or not achieving savings," said one administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid preempting the Feb. 7 release of the president's fiscal 2006 budget request.

    "What we are trying to accomplish is to meet our obligation to people living in distressed communities, to hold communities accountable for helping those people and to become more efficient in the process," another official said.

    Congressional housing aides say the $4.7 billion Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program -- the bulk of the community planning budget -- could be cut as much as 50 percent. Cities have become dependent on HUD's development programs, especially the CDBG, which has existed for 30 years, city officials said. Stanley Jackson, director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, said the city has used CDBG grants of $21 million to $22 million a year for clinics, recreation centers, day-care facilities, literacy programs and housing development.

    With housing and property values skyrocketing, the need for such programs for low-income families has never been higher, he said.

    "If this is a backdoor way of eliminating a program like CDBG, it would have a profoundly negative impact on cities," said Jim Hunt, a vice president of the National League of Cities and a city council member in Clarksburg, W.Va.

    Under the plan, the CDBG program -- which provides multipurpose development grants to state and local governments -- would be sent to the Commerce Department. The Urban Empowerment Zones and the Renewal Community programs -- both of which offer tax incentives for development in urban or other troubled areas -- would also go to Commerce, as would the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, designed to revitalize abandoned industrial sites.

    Youthbuild USA, a $62 million program to teach teens home-construction skills, would be sent to the Labor Department. The $24 million rural housing and economic development program would probably be eliminated.

    HUD would maintain the Home Investment Partnerships to build or buy affordable housing, homeless assistance programs and housing assistance for AIDS sufferers. The budget would eliminate $260 million in economic development projects earmarked for this year by lawmakers. HUD could ultimately lose a quarter of its $31 billion budget.

    White House officials said HUD employees would have to stay on the job to oversee outstanding grants for some time. But with Bush promising an aggressive attack on domestic spending, the 817 HUD community planning and development employees are girding for the worst.

    "It's a body blow," said one career employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired.

    The proposal could face an uphill fight in Congress, said Frank, who called the proposal "just appalling." With budgets tight, vested interests in the Commerce and Labor departments would be expected to favor their programs over the newcomers from HUD. "It wouldn't even be a fair fight," he said.

    Moreover, HUD has evolved into an agency designed to support urban interests and low-income citizens, while Commerce and Labor are more receptive to business needs. Indeed, community development programs at HUD are far larger than those at Commerce and Labor, said Saul Ramirez Jr., executive director of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and a former deputy secretary of housing. The Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration has a $320 million budget, a fraction of CDBG's allocation.

    "If there are any programs in Commerce that encourage direct economic development to some of the most disadvantaged and blighted areas, those programs are dwarfed by these programs," he said. "If [consolidation] is what they want, the reverse should be proposed."

    One White House official agreed that HUD programs have more of a community focus, while the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is more interested in economic growth. But, he said, "they're funding a lot of the same things."

    HUD's city focus may be why the White House is dismantling the HUD programs, Frank charged. "HUD is the place where mayors and urban interests can put up the strongest fight," he said.
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 14 Jan 2005 at 12:35 PM. Reason: Added descriptive title

  2. #2

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    This may be the beginning of the end for HUD.

    I think planners around the nation would be justified in challenging this to the very end. Commerce and Labor already have constituencies that are business-oriented; who in the federal government will look out for urban interests?

    I'm pissed about this.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Well, HUD survived Reagan, although he did his best to destroy it. Hopefully it'll survive Bush too.

    Housing is now the most significant expense in the average person's budget. So of course it makes sense that housing assistance would be the thing the conservatives go after.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I must be a middle aged middle class white man. I did not realize we had hit "crisis" level.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Its so drastic it almost seems like an Onion article.

    Hopefuylly, even a republican controlled Congress probably won't pass cuts this severe. Bush might not need urban voters, but there are R Congressmen from urban districts who probably won't go for this. Reorganizing departments in the name of public safety was passed, but I don't think Bush's will alone will totally fold HUD. We are still considered a "developed country" right?

    I get the feeling much of the country would delight in our urban planners' angst over cuts in federal programs. Serves the poor right for being lazy I guess.

    I must be a middle aged middle class white man. I did not realize we had hit "crisis" level.
    No, you're just a middle aged, middle class white man in Wisconsin. I dont' think crisis is an exaggeration anymore in some parts of the country.

  6. #6
    I'm already feeling the crunch: our CDBG entitlement budget was reduced by 8% from 860 to 820k roughly. That WILL mean at least one staff layoff as our admin and planning budget can't tolerate that much loss.

    I'm another step closer to Stan today . . .
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ha ha ha

    Think of all the poor Stan's at HUD that are getting woke up after decades of looking forward to retirement from the Federal Government......I bet that whole building is abuzz and Stan's are just going nuts........or not.......

    I think the Education Department Deserves to take a hit and loose 90% of that administrative PORK in DC before HUD Sad.....just Sad......
    Skilled Adoxographer

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    I must be a middle aged middle class white man. I did not realize we had hit "crisis" level.
    In 2003, the housing wage in Massachusetts was $22.40 to afford a two-bedroom unit paying no more than 30% of your income. A person earning the State's minimum wage of $6.75 an hour cannot afford an apartment if they work 100 hours a week!!! Now think about a single mother that needs daycare!!! There is a major crises here. Working people are going homeless!!!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Think of all the poor Stan's at HUD that are getting woke up after decades of looking forward to retirement from the Federal Government......I bet that whole building is abuzz and Stan's are just going nuts........or not.......

    I think the Education Department Deserves to take a hit and loose 90% of that administrative PORK in DC before HUD Sad.....just Sad......

    May I ask who or what is Stan?
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    other thread....

    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    May I ask who or what is Stan?
    I didn't attach the link, but check out the FAC thread under lazy bureaucrat or similar title.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Man With a Plan
    In 2003, the housing wage in Massachusetts was $22.40 to afford a two-bedroom unit paying no more than 30% of your income. A person earning the State's minimum wage of $6.75 an hour cannot afford an apartment if they work 100 hours a week!!! Now think about a single mother that needs daycare!!! There is a major crises here. Working people are going homeless!!!
    Then they should move to Tennessee or Kansas. Life is full of choices, these people are the victims of their choices. Period.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    People of Bush's ilk - those who have never spent a moment looking at local government or issues - don't have the slightest understanding of how funds like these are used. CDBG funds are used to provide housing, to build infrastructure, to fund redevelopment, to loan to businesses that create jobs, and for a variety of other purposes that help fuel our economies. That is not to say that there couldn't be beneficial reform to HUD programs, but eliminating them is not progress.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    Then they should move to Tennessee or Kansas. Life is full of choices, these people are the victims of their choices. Period.
    Is anyone from Cyburbia from Tennessee or Kansas? Would the housing issues of a single mother earning minimum wage disappear if she moved to your part of the country? Can single mothers working at minimum wage in Tennessee and Kansas afford quality housing and daycare?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    My understanding (or hope?) is that CDBG has a very influential constituency -- I don't mean in terms of the people that benefit from the program, but in terms of community leaders, members of Congress, etc. Start lobbying... and encourage your municipal leaders to do the same.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Man With a Plan
    Is anyone from Cyburbia from Tennessee or Kansas? Would the housing issues of a single mother earning minimum wage disappear if she moved to your part of the country? Can single mothers working at minimum wage in Tennessee and Kansas afford quality housing and daycare?
    Please, save the drama fo' yo' mamma. A household earning $30,000 a year and renting in Boston, moving to Kansas City, earning and renting would need to make only $22,000 in income to have a comparable quality of life. The move to Memphis is similar.

  16. #16
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    Then they should move to Tennessee or Kansas. Life is full of choices, these people are the victims of their choices. Period.
    I sooooo want to reply to this comment, but will restrain myself. Affordable housing is a BIG issue in the northeast, and I think telling those that have issues with affordability to move is [self censored....don't want to turn this into a personal attack or ideology attack].

    Case in point, even though I make a good living (over $50K per year), I am the target range for "affordable" housing in southern NH.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    I sooooo want to reply to this comment, but will restrain myself. Affordable housing is a BIG issue in the northeast, and I think telling those that have issues with affordability to move is [self censored....don't want to turn this into a personal attack or ideology attack].

    Case in point, even though I make a good living (over $50K per year), I am the target range for "affordable" housing in southern NH.
    I respect that, but you also chose to return to your home state after graduating. You are highly employable and have more options than most, and can make it work. Others that can't make it work need to consider their options.

    I AM A REPUBLICAN AFTER ALL....

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    Then they should move to Tennessee or Kansas. Life is full of choices, these people are the victims of their choices. Period.
    I'm going to suggest that to our residents at our next Council meeting.

    When homes are unaffordable for anyone other than a pair of married surgeons, its not a matter of bad choices on the part of everyone else. People shouldn't move to a neighborhood that's too expensive for them, but there's a problem when housing opportunities, whether ownership or rentals, are out of reach for workers in an entire metro area. (Part of the blame, of course, is with local govenments who are afraid of affordable housing or density.)

    But if you folks in the Heartland want us to ship all our poor to you, we'll do it, and then you'll want HUD to alleviate your housing crisis.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Planning Humor

    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    Please, save the drama fo' yo' mamma. A household earning $30,000 a year and renting in Boston, moving to Kansas City, earning and renting would need to make only $22,000 in income to have a comparable quality of life. The move to Memphis is similar.
    What do you call a household earning $30,000 a year in Boston...

    Homeless lol. Get it

    Unfortunately, a lot of native Bostonians have moved out of New England in order to survive. It is my opinion that suggesting a family relocate to an unfamiliar area because they are not affluent is an incremental way to address affordable housing.

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- Well, HUD survived Reagan, although he did his best to destroy it. Hopefully it'll survive Bush too.
    Key difference -- Reagan never had a majority in Congress; Tip O'Neill fought him tooth and nail.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    $6.75/hour doesn't get you jack s**t in Boston, Wichita, Worcester, Nashville or anywhere else in North America. Chet, I do get your point though. Coming from Omaha, I thought I was living the high life making double that amount at my first real planning related internship in Baltimore. When people talk about the cost of living in different areas, my first and main reaction is how much is the rent? Everything else is gravy.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    . . . CDBG funds are used to provide housing, to build infrastructure, to fund redevelopment, to loan to businesses that create jobs, and for a variety of other purposes that help fuel our economies. . . .
    None of that matters, unfortunately. All that matters is the nationwide perception of cutting wasteful spending on non-deserving people and places. The consequences of it are secondary, and if the poo doesn't hit the fan for another few years then that's even better for the adminstration.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 14 Jan 2005 at 3:50 PM.

  23. #23
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    [QUOTE=Seabishop]
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    . . . CDBG funds are used to provide housing, to build infrastructure, to fund redevelopment, to loan to businesses that create jobs, and for a variety of other purposes that help fuel our economies. . . . QUOTE]

    None of that matters, unfortunately. All that matters is the nationwide perception of cutting wasteful spending on non-deserving people and places. The consequences of it are secondary, and if the poo doesn't hit the fan for another few years then that's even better for the adminstration.
    That's it. "If you're poor, that must mean you're lazy. Why should we waste our tax dollars on lazy people?" It's pretty sad.

    I do think that housing assistance and welfare programs should be consolidated and overhauled into a more comprehensive and effective self-sufficiency program, and HUD should have more of a bricks and mortar focus. However, I don't think this is the best way to go. I wonder what the Secratary of HUD has to say about this.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by New2daGame
    . I wonder what the Secratary of HUD has to say about this.
    What his boss tells him to say?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by New2daGame
    I wonder what the Secratary of HUD has to say about this.
    Insert sounds of crickets......in the woods of northern Virginia/Maryland........
    or
    Complete silence.......
    Skilled Adoxographer

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