WASHINGTON, DC – After successfully opposing the Trump Administration’s
draconian cuts to the Public Housing Capital Fund and instead delivering a $6.3
million increase for Rhode Island’s allocation for the current fiscal year,
U.S. Senator Jack Reed is now leading efforts to prevent Congressional
Republicans from clawing back money that should be used to modernize, rehab,
and preserve public housing, while also opposing the Trump Administration’s
proposal to eliminate the program entirely.
This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) announced that twenty-four Rhode Island cities and towns will receive a total
of $19,934,826 in federal funding to develop, finance, and
modernize public housing. The grants are being awarded to local Public
Housing Authorities (PHAs) through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund
Program. These federal funds may be used to fix roofs, replace windows,
remediate lead and other hazards, and make necessary updates to aging
buildings, many of which were built decades ago.
However, many Congressional Republicans are backing a rescission bill that would claw back nearly $40
million from the public housing capital fund, which helps more
than 2 million vulnerable Americans nationwide, including seniors and persons
with disabilities live in decent, safe housing. And President Trump’s
latest budget calls for eliminating the program entirely.
As the Ranking Member of the Senate
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
(THUD), Senator Reed helped include $2.75 billion for the Public Housing
Capital Fund in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations law, an increase of $809
million from Fiscal Year 2017, as part of a combined $7.3 billion in resources
to support the operation and capital management of the nation’s public housing
infrastructure. This higher funding level ensured Rhode Island PHAs a
$6.3 million increase, allowing them to take the necessary steps to maintain
and improve safe and secure tenant living conditions.
“We need to update, renovate, and build more
quality housing that working families can afford. Instead, the Trump
Administration and House Republican leaders are trying to undercut affordable
housing and put off needed investments in our nation’s public housing stock,”
said Senator Reed. “This funding is a smart investment in helping local
housing agencies build stronger communities and make needed improvements.
I will strongly oppose efforts to rescind or eliminate this funding.”
In addition to the rescission package,
President Trump’s most recent budget proposal seeks to eliminate the program
entirely, limiting PHAs’ ability to preserve this critical affordable housing
resource and leading to the potential displacement of millions of vulnerable
Americans. Further, the overall Trump budget proposal for HUD would
result in an $11.5 billion cut from 2019, a 22-percent reduction from fiscal
year 2018, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson has outlined a plan to raise rents on
thousands of low-income families.
“Affordable housing is a necessity for growing
our economy. I will continue working on a bipartisan basis to make smart federal
investments that create more affordable housing opportunities, spur job
creation, and stabilize communities,” said Reed.
Local housing agencies can use Public Housing
Capital Fund resources to make a broad array of capital improvements, from addressing
deferred maintenance to the replacement of obsolete utility systems and
dwelling equipment. This funding is also used to improve the security and
safety of public housing residents.
Public housing is essential, providing
affordable housing to approximately 1.1 million low-income households
throughout the country. The Public Housing Capital Fund enables housing
agencies to maintain, improve, and preserve this housing stock, to ensure units
are not deemed unlivable and families are not displaced.
Public Housing Agencies in the following
cities and towns will receive funding:
Central Falls: $627,134
East Greenwich: $61,188
East Providence: $806,130
North Providence: $203,896
South Kingstown: $190,819
West Warwick: $427,813