Senate Democrats In Fight To Keep Affordable Housing Project Alive

| by Ethan Brown

More than half of the Senate Democrats wrote a letter to Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, urging the party to continue funding the Housing Trust Fund, a program that serves millions of low-income individuals.

House Republicans are voting on a bill next week that funds transportation and housing programs for 2016. In that bill, Republicans transferred funding from the Housing Trust Fund to HOME, or the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, another government program that is used “to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying, and/or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership or providing direct rental assistance to low-income people,” according to the government’s website.

The Democrats’ letter was sent to leaders of the House Appropriations committee, which oversees all financial matters, including the Senate’s spending bill that has not been made public yet, according to the Hill.

Senate Democrats believe that HOME is not reliable and does not come to the need of all low-income families like the Housing Trust Fund program does. Moreover, Democrats said that the Housing Trust Fund is the only program operated and managed by the federal government that provides finances directly to low-income households for rent.

In 2008, the Housing Trust Fund was made a permanent program by then-President George W. Bush, a Republican.

The White House has already threatened Republicans with the use of President Barack Obama’s veto power, saying the administration “strongly opposes” the cut in funding for HOME, which could be receiving $130 million less in 2016 as opposed to this year.

The administration also objected to the transferring of funds from the Housing Trust Fund to HOME, commenting that the transfer “effectively eliminates” the Housing Trust Fund.

While the federal government continues to stall on the matter, state governments are taking up the issue. For example, New York lawmakers are working to provide $150 million in new funding for affordable housing programs in upstate New York, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Sources: The Hill, The Democrat and Chronicle, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Photo Credit: lowincomehousing.us, patch.com