October 12, 2011; Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities | The House and Senate FY2012 appropriations bills do a number on the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Where housing vouchers are concerned, for example, the number is 25,000 to 40,000—the amount of low-income families whose currently used housing vouchers would not be renewed. Another number is $1.4 billion—the House bill’s reduction in funding for public housing, 20 percent below the 2011 level (the Senate only cuts public housing by $880 million). Maybe some budget watchers missed it, but House Republicans tucked a provision in the bill that would specifically harm public housing in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. In 2009, some 20,000 state-run public housing units were transferred to federally subsidized public housing authorities in the three states. The bill calls for the states to reimburse HUD for the $24.5 million in “conversion” costs, and leaves the units in “administrative limbo”—no longer state public housing, but not eligible for federal subsidies either. The six senators from the states, including Independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts, wrote to Senators Patty Murray and Susan Collins at the Senate Appropriations Committee to tell them about the proposed reneging on the federal commitment to these formerly state public housing units. Why is all of this important to nonprofits? A sizeable cut in the overall HUD budget, a huge cut in housing vouchers, a reduction in public housing subsidies, state public housing rescued by HUD suddenly cut adrift? The housing needs that these FY2012 appropriations decisions will spur will mean an increase in service and support demands hitting nonprofits.—Rick Cohen
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