April 14, 2011
Bernie Says ‘No Deal’ to Housing Cuts
“Bernie will vote against a budget agreement that cuts public housing by $605 million and eliminates financial counseling when homeowners need it most. The cuts are part of an agreement that slashes more than $38 billion from programs for working families.
The cuts include a 16 percent reduction in the Community Development Block Grant program, which helps states and cities build affordable housing, and a 12 percent cut to the HOME program, which funds affordable housing for low-income families. With homelessness on the rise and the recession dragging on, the cuts will cost Vermont $1.5 million in crucial grant funding and another $500,000 to build affordable housing. Last year, for example, the Vermont Community Development Program funded 25 projects that built or preserved 261 units of affordable housing.
While many homeowners struggle to prevent foreclosures, the agreement also eliminates crucial housing counseling services. In Vermont, that means a loss of at least $330,000 to community-based organizations working to help keep people in their homes.
The cuts to public housing programs are among many that harm working families, the elderly, and the sick. The tens of billions in cuts in the budget agreement come just months after Congress extended Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy. That, Bernie said, is “Robin Hood in reverse.” ”