Trump’s War on Public Housing

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Any fair-minded person will always try to give someone a chance.  Although I clearly understand Republicans are not typically good for public housing, I sat back and let the new President and Secretary of HUD lay out their plans.  The first plan was not good.  It was clear that their intention was to significantly underfund the countries major affordable housing programs.  The latest President’s budget intends to gut and destroy the public housing program once and for all.

I do not need to re-hash the absolute beat down that the public housing program has endured over the last couple decades.  It is a favorite punching bag for conservatives who apparently find the thought of housing low income families, persons, elderly and disabled awful.  While I must admit not every republican is against the program, there is a healthy majority that are.  They talk about ridiculous ideas like pulling oneself up from the bootstraps without considering for a second the often-turbulent situations many people grow up in and experience.  Do people eventually need to take ownership of their situations?  Maybe.  But what if that person is undiagnosed and mentally ill?  Do we expect that person to pull themselves up by those shiny bootstraps Mr. President?  I am sure you would have a tweet to answer that.

The newest proposal is an all out frontal assault with the goal of annihilation!  After years of chronic underfunding, the infrastructure that is public housing is worn down and hanging on by a sliver.  Thousands of units of public housing go offline each year due to a lack of funds to renovate and keep the infrastructure in place.  Trump’s budget is going for the kill shot.  The capital fund budget is the only lifeline pumping blood into the public housing infrastructure.  We are talking roofs, walls, envelopes, floors, hazmat reduction.  Trump with his little surrogate surgeon pretending to run HUD will completely defund the capital fund program.  That will effectively get rid of any money to keep up on these precious properties.   If HUD Secretary Carson had even a module of compassion, he would step down from his position in protest of the protest proposal.

If this program is de-funded, the chances of that well ever being re-tapped are slim to none.  Other housing funding streams for public housing would continue to be cut and the provision of public housing would die a slow and painful death.  People in communities across the country both liberal and conservative will continue to complain about the increase in homelessness.  They will talk about how unsafe they feel.  All the while, units will decay, and housing capacity will be lost.  But hell, at least we will have a goddamn wall.

Author: jcrites

Josh Crites is an American social housing professional with both practical and research experience. He has worked at 3 social housing companies in the USA in roles ranging from policy and operations to process improvement and strategy. Josh is a former Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow. During that fellowship, Josh researched and worked with social housing companies in Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, England, Estonia and Spain. He is an avid writer and advocate for the provision of social housing around the world.

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