Congressman Al Green Testifies in Opposition to Proposed Housing Cuts in the Administrations Budget:

Apr 11, 2005 Issues: Housing

(Washington, DC)--Today, Houston U.S. Representative Al Green (TX-09) joined his fellow Texas Democratic Delegation Members and Members of the State Legislature to conduct a rare Joint Federal-State Forum on the U.S. Budget and its profound impact on Texans.

Congressman Al Green, a member of the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development, led the panel discussion on the Administration's proposed budget cuts to the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) a program specifically geared towards providing financial assistance for the improvement of housing and economic conditions in low and moderate- income neighborhoods.

The Administration's proposed Strengthening Americas Communities (SAC) Initiative would eliminate or consolidate 18 federal programs, including CDBG, under a new program in the Commerce Department. This initiative will result in $2 million in funding cuts to CDBGs budget.

"It is morally irresponsible to slash funding for critical domestic initiatives. It is particularly harmful to economic development programs in small business, agriculture and housing that provide the foundation upon which Americans can build their livelihoods and fulfill the promise of the American dream," Congressman Al Green said.

Recognizing that Houston, like many other metropolitan cities, is suffering from a huge shortage of affordable housing, Congressman Al Green invited Milton Wilson, the City's Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development to testify. Wilson thanked Congressman Al Green for his commitment toward ensuring access to affordable housing and testified to the adverse impact of the Administration's budget on Houston's fragile housing market.

In 2005, Houston received more than $34 million in CDBG funding. Because of the cuts to CDBG, there will be a $1.16 billion cut in funding to affordable housing.

"We are not just talking dollars and cents. We are talking about taking away hope and opportunity from people who need it the most. Today's hearing allowed people across this great state to hear how these cuts really impact our daily lives," Congressman Al Green said.

These proposed cuts come at a time when, according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, 14 million households spend more than 50% of their incomes on housing and another 17 million households spend between 30 percent and 50 percent of their incomes on housing.