It will be a bitter-sweet Valentine’s Day for many across the country who have already lost their homes due to the foreclosure and economic crises, but should the budget proposals put forth by the House come to pass, things will get even worse.
Even as the need for assistance continues to increase with the ongoing economic crisis, as many as 750,000 Section 8 tenants could be cut off from federal assistance as early as this spring, if the proposed $101 billion cut is applied across the board to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At the same time, the Obama Administration will release its request for FY 2012 today. The Administration is weighing a cut of $1 billion from the $4 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds local housing programs, and a 5% cut to HUD overall. The President has proposed a five year “freeze” on all domestic programs. But reducing or eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction, as recommended by Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission, would save $104 billion – enough to create a homeowner tax credit for most homes, build new housing, expand vouchers and even reduce the deficit!
Congress seems determined to pass cuts to spending regardless of the consequences to people living in their towns. But imagine 750,000 parents having to explain to their children that they are losing their home. Imagine millions of hearts breaking. That’s why on Valentine’s Day, low-income tenants from over 15 cities coast-to-coast are holding coordinated actions calling on Congress to “Have a Heart, Save Our Homes” from the proposed cuts to the housing budget.
Join with these tenants by calling your Representatives and Senators to help them realize the human consequences of this arbitrary budget slashing, and ask them to “Have a Heart, Save Our Homes!” See our allies at the National Alliance of HUD Tenants for talking points and more information.
-Eric Tars, Human Rights Program Director