Congress Spending Package Is Good News for NYC Tenants

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Martin Falbisoner

US Capitol Building

Early Friday morning and just in time to avoid a government shutdown, Congress approved a $1.3 trillion spending package for FY 2018, raising spending for both military and domestic programs in what analysts describe as a strong rejection of the Trump administration’s austere budget proposal.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), instead of getting a cut, got a boost. That would be good news for New Yorkers who live in dilapidated public housing, who depend on vouchers to avoid displacement, who live in private housing and may need emergency repairs, code enforcement or legal assistance, or who need deeply affordable housing—pretty much every tenant struggling in the current housing crisis.

There’s just one thing in the way: On Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was considering vetoing the bill. True, that would likely lead to a government shutdown—and White House aides are trying to convince the president not to follow through on the threat, according to the Washington Post.

As City Limits reported in February, Trump proposed cutting HUD’s budget from $48 billion in FY 2017 to $40.7 billion in FY 2018. This year’s spending bill instead includes $52.7 billion for HUD. The budget for the public housing capital fund instead of being cut from $1.942 billion to $628 million, would be boosted to $2.750 billion. See a breakdown of other HUD programs here.

In a blog post, the National Low Income Housing Coalition heralded  the “significant increase in funding for affordable housing and community development programs at HUD and [United States Department of Agriculture], along with an increase in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and an important reform to the tax program,” saying that, assuming the bill is enacted, they would then turn their attention to fighting Trump’s proposed budget cuts for FY 2019.

Congressman Adriano Espaillat also issued a statement celebrating what he described as his successful fight to include housing resources in the budget. “Affordable housing is essential for successful communities, and I will continue my fight to help ensure and preserve the affordability of housing for New Yorkers and residents throughout our communities,” he said.

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