U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano Opposes HUD Cuts

August 3, 1999 -- Today, Congressman Michael E. Capuano (D, MA) joined other members of the House Banking Committee and housing advocates to oppose the cuts to the Fiscal Year 2000 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget. Last Friday, July 30th, the House Appropriations Committee cut funding for HUD by $2 billion for next year.

"These cuts could not come at a worse time. Rising housing costs have made finding an affordable place to live almost impossible in many cities. We should be investing in new housing opportunities and in our neighborhoods instead of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans," Capuano stated.

The Appropriations Committee bill cuts the funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) by $250 million, cuts funding for severely distressed public housing (HOPE VI) by $50 million, and cuts $20 million from the Drug Elimination Grant program. The bill also provides no new funding for elderly or disabled housing programs. Efforts to reduce homelessness, provide first-time homebuyer counseling, and provide affordable housing opportunities for persons living with AIDS also suffered significant reductions.

In addition, the Appropriations Committee did not provide funding for the 100,000 new rental vouchers authorized last year and did not replace the $350 million taken out of the Section 8 rental assistance program earlier this year to fund the emergency spending bill.

Cuts to programs such as CDBG mean many cities and towns will have difficulty funding local economic development initiatives, homeownership programs, and other critical services. The cuts also hurt efforts to revitalize public housing and provide incentives for private-sector investment in low-income neighborhoods. It also curtails anti-drug programs in public and subsidized housing.

"We must not force hard-working American families to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent. These cuts will only force more people out of their homes. I will continue to fight for full funding of these critical programs as the appropriations process continues," Capuano said.