Community Development Block Grants head to chopping block

White House's budget proposal for HUD cuts a $3B national development program

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (Credit: Getty Images)
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (Credit: Getty Images)

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget released its fiscal year 2018 proposals this week, cutting $6.2 billion in annualized discretionary spending from HUD and eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program. It could have an outsized impact on New York City, which relies on the grants to fund critical repairs at public housing projects.

“The Federal Government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974,” reads the proposal from the office led by former congressman Mick Mulvaney, “but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results.”

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The Community Development Block Grant program, or CBDG, has enjoyed wide bipartisan support since President Gerald Ford signed it into law in 1975. In New York it has been employed to fund code enforcement, inspections at troubled buildings, repairs and improvements to senior housing, and economic recovery from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. For the current fiscal year, the government committed $3 billion to the program, and will receive no funding in the White House’s $40.7 billion HUD budget proposal for next year.

Stephen Glaude, CEO of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, told CNBC that he expected the program to get cut, but never expected it to be destroyed. “To come in and blatantly eliminate these programs because you’re trying to meet a budget number without talking to the stakeholders, the constituents of these programs, is a little concerning. In fact, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s actually alarming.” [CNBC] — Will Parker