GOP Seeks Massive HUD Budget Cuts

Despite the severe shortage of affordable housing, the GOP is seeking massive new cuts to HUD’s housing programs. Their budget would also result in nearly $6 trillion in catastrophic budget cuts over a decade to our nation’s federal domestic programs, not including the military.

by Lynda Carson

The affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area is raging out of control as greedy landlords, realtors, and developers force people out of their housing in the name of gentrification.

The average rent in Oakland is currently at $2,497 per month, according to Rent Café, ranging from $1,726 for a studio apartment, to $4,214 for a three-bedroom apartment. The homeless population in the Bay Area is suffering greatly due to the lack of public housing, or affordable housing.

According to the latest 2018 figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, households with a family of four earning as much as $117,400 annually, reportedly may qualify as a low-income households, and be eligible for some affordable housing programs in the Bay Area.

Based on HUD’s own records, 79 percent of HUD-assisted households have an average annual income below $20,000, with 40 percent of those households having an annual income of only $10,000 to $19,999. Only 20 percent of HUD-assisted households have an annual income of $20,000 or more.

For those who are disabled with a fixed income of less than $12,000 a year and using public transit to get around while residing in a subsidized affordable housing project, it may seem strange to have a neighbor residing in the same building that drives a luxurious Lexus or Mercedes Benz. But that is presently the reality of residing in some of these much-needed affordable housing projects in the Bay Area, because of the destruction and privatization of our public housing.

Meanwhile, the GOP seeks additional massive budget cuts to HUD’s affordable housing programs.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the House Budget Committee passed a FY 2019 budget resolution that maintains the massive 2017 tax cuts to the rich and wealthy corporations, even as it repeals the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Their budget would also result in nearly $6 trillion in catastrophic budget cuts over a decade to our nation’s federal domestic programs, not including the military.

Additionally, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a Trump and GOP reorganization proposal to consolidate federal departments including HUD, would cap the Housing Trust Fund (funding for low-income housing projects) at $440 million annually, instead of the expected $3.5 billion annually.

Also, Trump and GOP legislators want to create a so-called Council on Public Assistance, which is to be housed in the newly proposed “Department of Health and Public Welfare.” The Council on Public Assistance would have the authority to create new draconian policies.

The Council on Public Assistance is proposed to include representatives from all federal agencies that administer public benefits, including HUD, Medicaid Services, the Center for Medicare and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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A message to the politicians: “Build Affordable Housing.”

 

Tired of Living Blues

by Michael Creedon

Time out, time in;

There’s no breaks in this life I live in.

It keeps me moving but I haven’t got a thing.

What am I living for if not for something?

 

Living hard on the street.

Morning comes down like a wet sheet.

What’s the point of keeping on?

Everything I had is gone.

 

Time in, time out;

Makes me want to scream and shout.

Jeez, if I could just break out —

Give them something to talk about.

I’m tired of living on the street.

Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.