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President's Budget Proposal Would Eliminate Funding for Critical Community Programs

17 Mar 2017 5:30 PM | Deleted user

On Thursday, March 16, a draft of President Trump’s proposed FY18 Budget was released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf).  While the budget was not comprehensive in program-by-program specifics, it confirms earlier fears of deep cuts to critical community development programs Hoosiers rely on.  Below are some of the key findings that affect the diverse programs and interests of Prosperity Indiana members.  In light of the dramatic and damaging impact this proposal would across our state, please stay tuned to our blog for updates and be sure to respond to our action alert to be sent via email next week.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Eliminates funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which the OMB claims is a program that “is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results.” The President’s budget would, as the draft states, “devolve community and economic development activities to the State and local level.”  In FY16, Indiana’s entitlement and non-entitlement communities received a combined total of $60,833,178 in federal investment in, among other activities:
    • acquisition, demolition, and sale of real property
    • construction of public facilities
    • housing counseling
    • housing rehabilitation and repair
    • housing counseling
    • homeownership assistance
    • lead abatement programs
    • public services
    • historic preservation
    • energy conservation
    • provision of assistance to entities in support of private-sector job creation
  • Eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which the administration claims is ineffective as well.  In FY16, Indiana’s entitlement and non-entitlement communities received a combined total of $18,963,083 178 in federal investment in:
    • homeownership-occupied rehabilitation
    • homebuyer assistance
    • acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of rental housing
    • tenant-based rental assistance
  • Eliminates funding for the Choice Neighborhoods Program, designed to support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans
  • Eliminates funding for the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, which awards grant funds to non-profit organizations to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to set the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families.
  • Eliminates funding for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, which helps build the capacity of community development corporations (CDCs) and community housing development organizations (CHDOs) making an impact in our communities statewide
  • The proposal’s only substantial increase includes an increase of $20 million for the lead-safe homes program, budgeting $130 million for this effort

Department of Education

  • The proposal would eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before and after-school programs as well as summer programs that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

Department of Energy

  • The draft calls for the elimination of the Department’s weatherization assistance program, which provides grants to states to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. States, which then provide the funds to local governments and nonprofit agencies, to provide weatherization services to those in need using the latest technologies for home energy upgrades.  

Department of Health and Human Services

  • Here again, the budget proposal makes sweeping cuts, eliminating all discretionary programs within the Department’s Office of Community Services.  These critical programs aimed at supporting low-income individuals and families include:
    • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) The administration claims in the budget proposal that “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.” Indiana's LIHEAP provides financial assistance to low-income households at up to 150% Federal Poverty Level.  The program help prevent utility companies from shutting off home heating service to low-income families in cold months provides limited funds for the purchase of fans during summer months
    • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).  The administration claims in the budget proposal that, “CSBG funds services that are duplicative of other Federal programs, such as emergency food assistance and employment services, and is also a limited-impact program.”   The CSBG program provides funds Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities by: 
      • helping individuals and families secure and retain meaningful employment
      • attain an adequate education, improve the use of available income
      • obtain adequate housing
      • obtain emergency assistance, including health and nutrition service
      • remove obstacles which block the achievement of self-sufficiency
      • achieve greater participation in the affairs of the community
    • The only bright spot identified for this program budget would be a $500 million increase above 2016 enacted levels to “expand opioid misuse prevention efforts and to increase access to treatment and recovery services to help Americans who are misusing opioids get the help they need,” according to the draft

Department of Labor

  • The proposal would eliminate grants, such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), claiming they are “ineffective, duplicative, and peripheral job training grants”
  • It would also cut funding by eliminating funds for underperforming Job Corps centers
  • Federal support for job training and employment service formula grants would also be cut
  • Lastly, the plan eliminates the Department’s technical assistance grants within the Office of Disability Employment Policy, choosing instead to launch an early intervention demonstration project to “allow States to test and evaluate methods that help individuals with disabilities remain attached to or reconnect to the labor market”

Department of Transportation

  • The plan would limit funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only
  • It would also eliminates funding the TIGER discretionary grant program that provides capital for projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural

Department of Treasury

  • The proposal would eliminates funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund grants, claiming it would save $210 million not that the industry is now 20 years old and “private institutions have ready access to the capital needed to extend credit and provide financial services to underserved communities”

Environmental Protection Agency

  • President Trump’s budget proposes to “rein in Superfund administrative costs and emphasizes efficiency efforts by funding the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account at $762 million, $330 million below the 2017” level. This is particularly concerning in light of the lead housing crisis in East Chicago and other areas of the country and our state that may have been

Small Business Administration

  • The proposal would eliminate PRIME technical assistance grants, Regional Innovation Clusters, and Growth Accelerators. The Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) provides assistance to various organizations. These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

Legal Services

  • The Trump budget would also target the Legal Services Corp., an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The agency promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state to address cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support, domestic violence, among many others.

How Can I Stand Up for Critical Community Development Programs?

Stay tuned for our Action Alert to go to out to our members via email next week urging Indiana’s congressional delegation next week to oppose these damaging proposed cuts.

Join the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) for a webinar on Monday, March 20, entitled “How Advocates Can Help Stop President Trump’s $7 Billion Cut to HUD In Its Tracks,” by clicking on this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/712995188908614659

Further Reading:

Prosperity Indiana
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Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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