Earlier today the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies passed its fiscal year 2016 funding bill. In response, Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoff Anderson issued the following statement:
“The United States is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. Rents are rising, the homeownership rate is declining, and federal housing programs are already failing to meet the need for affordable homes. Gutting the HOME program at a time like this is the wrong response. If Congress’s budget caps force this outcome, the budget caps need to be changed.
The bill passed this morning slashes funding for HUD’s HOME program from $900 million in FY 2015 to just $66 million—a cut which would leave thousands of American families out in the cold. This bill would cut funding for other crucial housing programs too, and would also cut $520 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s immensely popular New Starts program, which uses federal funding to leverage local investment. Today’s bill does maintain funding for the Department of Transportation’s TIGER Grants and the Federal Transit Administration’s formula programs at current funding levels.
America’s families need better transportation and housing options. They don’t have to come at the cost of one another. Draconian sequester funding is limiting Congress unnecessarily, and strategically lifting those caps would make it possible to fund critical programs while still being fiscally responsible. I urge members of Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement this summer that provides families and communities with both the transportation and housing they need to survive and thrive in today’s economy.”