Obama Budget Cuts Low-Income Housing, Funds Planning Program

Quick update from Washington: President Obama’s proposed budget for 2013 would make cuts to public housing that some critics call “Scrooge-like.” But it would also restore funding to a key planning program devoted to urban sustainability.

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This post originally appeared on City Limits.

President Obama’s budget is getting hit for doing harm to housing. But the president’s funding request also would restore money to a key urban planning program.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition says the president’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget “contains a mix of deep cuts, flat funding, and troublesome policy recommendations” on the housing side. NLIHC singles out proposed reductions to Project-Based Rental Assistance, where the administration proposes to provide less than a full 12 months of funding to some of the public housing agencies that administer the grants.

HUD has tried this budget gimmick before and it wrecked havoc in the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people,” said NLIHC president Sheila Crowley in a statement. The administration says “the constrained fiscal environment forced difficult choices” like the reduction in Project-Based Rental Assistance, but insists the change “will not affect families served by the program.”

The administration also says it wants to up the minimum rent in HUD programs from the current $25-$50 range to $75. The White House argues the change is in line with inflation. Crowley says: “It is Scrooge-like.”

The good news in the Obama housing budget is that it aims to restore funding for Sustainable Communities, a program in which the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency coordinate their efforts to create environmentally sound, transit-oriented development—a key planning initiative introduced by the Obama White House that Congress zeroed out this fiscal year.

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Tags: affordable housingwashington dctransportation spendinggovernancesustainable citieshud

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