May 20, 2004
Today Congressman Mike Capuano blasted Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson for the lack of commitment the Department has demonstrated toward affordable rental housing. Secretary Jackson testified today before the House Committee on Financial Services on the fiscal year 2005 HUD budget request. Congressman Capuano serves on that Committee and on its Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
"Throughout the Bush administration, HUD has maintained an all out assault on affordable housing programs and the people who rely on housing assistance. This year, the Secretary threatened the Section 8 Program by creating a funding crisis that put thousands of families at risk. Instead of asking Congress for help with this crisis, HUD has asked for even less Section 8 funding in the FY '05 budget. It is clear to me that this Administration does not care about providing affordable housing to hard-working American families," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.
In April, HUD abruptly changed the way the Section 8 voucher program is funded, leaving states and housing authorities all across the country with too little money to pay for vouchers that had already been given to tenants. This callous decision forced many agencies to inform tenants that they were at risk of losing their homes. The decision was made despite the fact that the money had already been allocated by Congress to pay for these vouchers. HUD chose to ignore Congressional intent and leave many families at risk for homelessness. Secretary Jackson has now publicly stated that HUD will provide additional funding so that no housing agency will be faced with a crisis. Unfortunately, it took the Department more than a month to fix this problem that it created.
"What is most troubling to me about this decision is the fact that HUD had the money all along, and allowed thousands of people all across this country to fear that they might end up on the street. Now the Secretary has changed his mind and announced that no one was in danger of eviction. Quite simply, HUD manufactured this affordable housing crisis, worrying tens of thousands of our most vulnerable families," stated Congressman Capuano.
The Bush Administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development has consistently focused on ways to undermine the Section 8 Program by reducing its funding and limiting its scope. Since April 2001, HUD has cut housing agency reserves in half, stopped funding vouchers for disabled Americans and broken the 30 year promise to fund all existing vouchers.
"I am deeply concerned about the future of affordable housing under this Administration," stated Congressman Capuano.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208