Housing Solutions and Other Regional Housing Agencies Take their Message to D.C.

Housing Solutions Executive Director, Carl Nagy-Koechlin (forth from left), and Regional Housing Network colleagues bring their message to Representative Bill Keating (fifth from left)

The group arrived in Washington on May 23 just as President Trump’s budget was made public, with its proposed 5% cuts to HUD rental assistance programs that would translate into the elimination of rental assistance to 250,000 households.

The group met with the offices of all the Massachusetts house representatives and senators, none of whom needed any persuading to stand up for the rental assistance and other HUD programs that Trump proposed slashing. Even so, it was an important opportunity to articulate the impact the rental assistance programs have on low-income families, as well as on the local communities and economies where tenants and landlords live.

The group also met with staffers – both Republican and Democrat – for the Senate and House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Committees, and was heartened to learn that these staffers and most committee members understand the important role HUD programs play in providing stable housing. As one Republican committee staffer said, “There are voucher holders and public housing tenants in both red and blue districts.”

The complex budget process continues to play out. With Trump’s severe budget proposal deemed to be “dead on arrival,” the House THUD Appropriation Committee recently approved more modest cuts to the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program.

While our regional housing agencies alone can’t insulate critical HUD programs from cuts, it is important that we impress upon our elected officials the impact that these programs have on the lives of so many struggling families and individuals. We and our Massachusetts delegation will continue to hammer that point home.