Rep. Capuano Condemns HUD Budget Cuts

August 8, 2001 -- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) today joined Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Senator John Kerry at a Charlestown rally to condemn $1.7 billion in cuts to the VA-HUD Appropriations bill. The legislation reduces or eliminates funding for a number of worthwhile programs from homeless prevention to housing assistance.

"Plenty of money was available when it came time to fund the tax cut that primarily benefited those on the higher end of the economic ladder. Now when it's time to help those who need it most, we seem to have run out of money," stated Rep. Capuano.

The bill eliminates the Public Housing Drug Elimination Program, which received $310 million last year. This money is used by local housing authorities to hire public safety officers for crime prevention, run after-school programs for at-risk youth, and provide drug treatment programs for residents. The Public Housing Capital Fund also suffers a $445 million cut. This funding is used to renovate and repair Public Housing units throughout Massachusetts. Without this money, communities will be unable to perform essential maintenance on this important housing stock.

The Community Development Block Grant program is also cut by $322 million. "This money is used in communities across the country for countless economic development and quality of life initiatives from planting trees and repairing storefronts to creating new affordable housing. In a time of budget surpluses, we should be increasing funds for these vital activities, not reducing them," stated Rep. Capuano.

In addition, the bill provides no funding for the Boston Empowerment Zone next year. "Great work is being done in Boston's Empowerment Zone and in the other cities that received Round II EZ designations. If we don't support these initiatives with the level of funding that we promised, the economic revitalization of neighborhoods throughout the city may not continue," stated Rep. Capuano.

The bill also does not provide any funding to renew expiring Shelter Plus Care grants, which provide rental assistance for those facing homelessness. With this reduction, $97 million in funding for homeless programs is eliminated.

"The Republican Majority in Congress has decided that providing the wealthiest Americans with a generous tax cut is more important than providing our most vulnerable citizens with a roof over their heads. I will continue to fight these senseless cuts and help restore funding for these essential programs," said Rep. Capuano