US Congress Funding Disputes Hurt Housing Aid

US Congress Funding Disputes Hurt Housing Aid

Low-income Americans will bear the burden of reductions included in the new legislation despite Democrats in the U.S. Congress thwarting some of the most drastic cuts to housing and other social safety net programs proposed by Republicans.

A comprehensive government budget plan passed earlier this month included funding setbacks for Washington’s attempts to address the availability of affordable housing for low-income families and remove hazardous lead paint contamination from existing structures.

The Congress leaders are expected to announce a compromise on a second batch of legislation, which could fund major labor, health, and education initiatives.

Lawmakers have a Friday deadline to approve these measures; failing could result in a partial government shutdown.

The legislation would set financial caps for several social initiatives, such as HIV prevention, job training for underprivileged youth, teaching low-income children, and others.

Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, and Democrats, who control the Senate and the White House, are still at odds over federal spending priorities nearly six months into the fiscal year that started on October 1.

This is all happening amid an alarmingly large national debt, which is now $34.5 trillion.

The cuts to funding in the appropriations bills that have already passed into law coincide with warnings from housing advocates that low-income families’ needs are not being satisfied, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak and the rising house costs.

US Congress Funding Dispute Hurt Housing Aid
US Congress Funding Dispute Hurt Housing Aid

According to Kevin Nowak, the head of CHN Housing Partners, a nonprofit organization, “it costs in some places 40% more than it did before the pandemic to produce affordable housing today.”

He added, “In Cleveland, one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country, it will be particularly harmful,”

He was speaking of the $250 million cut out of the “HOME” program of the Housing and Urban Development Department.

House Republicans have targeted the program that assists state and local governments in creating affordable rental and owner-occupied housing for a $1 billion cut.

According to Census Bureau data, Cleveland has a population of 361,607, of whom 46.6% is Black, 38% is White, and 31.2% is living in poverty.

Sonya Acosta, a housing specialist at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates that about three-quarters of likely eligible households in the US do not receive the needed rental assistance.

According to Acosta, who cited data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, applicants spend an average of over two and a half years on wait lists due to the high demand for housing “vouchers” and limited government financing.

Democrats in the U.S. House predict that this new HOME budget would fund about 21,000 newly constructed or renovated units nationally, approximately 4,185 fewer units than the previous year.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee claimed that the recently passed package of bills “maintains housing assistance for vulnerable Americans” while accomplishing the first comprehensive cuts to spending in “wasteful” programs in almost a decade.

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Eliana Cooper

Eliana Cooper is an esteemed editor at World-Wire, recognized for her expertise in sports and government news. With a background in Journalism and Political Science, she excels in delivering in-depth and factual reporting. Her work is known for its thorough research and clear presentation, making complex topics accessible. Eliana's contributions have earned her recognition, including the "Excellence in Sports Journalism" award in 2023.

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