A majority of Trump voters cited his business acumen and ability to turn around the country they said was failing miserably as reasons to vote for him. Of those voters that were struggling financially, they bought into promises that housing and jobs would fare better under him than Hillary Clinton. Well, we know that so far he hasn’t delivered on his promise to create many more jobs, since this year is on track to produce the “fewest net new jobs in seven years.” And housing under Trump also looks grim (no surprise there either)—particularly for low-income and working-class renters across the country.
President Donald Trump has proposed multi-billion-dollar cuts to the federal rent support systems that built [Castleton Park, a development in Staten Island with numerous rent-subsidized units] in the first place and helped keep the complex’s working-class tenants in the city all these years.
His budget plan for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would shred funding for the rent supports, affordable housing construction, and Community Development Block Grants that drive many local and state housing policy programs.
Tenants impacted by the Trump administration’s potential budget cuts are not taking this lightly. On Thursday, in 22 cities across the country, they plan to protest at local HUD offices as well as hold meetings with local lawmakers. Their purpose is to advocate for full funding of HUD so that renters can have access to affordable housing.
Trump has proposed staggering cuts across the federal rental support system. His budget badly understates the scope of the cuts, depicting them as a course correction, when in fact they amount to intentionally crashing the plane. A Section 8 cut billed at $300 million, for example, actually amounts to a $2 billion reduction once soaring annual rent hikes and inflation are factored in, housing experts have told ThinkProgress.
In addition to increasing the budget cuts by massive amounts, Trump’s budget would take housing vouchers away from more than 250,000 households and increase rents by 30 to 35 percent of household income. Now remember, these are already individuals and families who are receiving federal assistance—so it’s not as if they have an extra several hundred dollars at their disposal to pay for their rent. Taking their vouchers away and increasing their rent leaves them without a sustainable alternative for housing. And tie this back into pitiful job numbers and you have a bleak picture. No job opportunities means people don’t have money for rent. And for folks who are already struggling financially, no help with their rent means they are left with no home.
That is a recipe for a spike in homelessness; those who currently rely on these programs do not have alternatives should their housing costs suddenly jump out of reach.
Ironically, leaving low-income persons with no means to fend for themselves is actually bad for all of us. The prevailing notion among Republicans is that the poor are at fault for their own circumstances and deserve whatever happens to them. They are notorious for trying to defund any social welfare programs—holding tight to the belief that any kind of money spent on contributing to the well-being of others is just socialism. Yet, subsidizing poor people pays off for the community in which they live. They spend money in their neighborhoods and give back to their environment. It does absolutely no good to anyone to have increased homelessness. This terrible plan will end up having a detrimental impact on children and families, increase a need for social services, and throw lives and systems dealing with fair housing into chaos.
But did anyone really expect a billionaire real estate developer to actually care about people having affordable housing in the first place? This is exactly what happens when an unqualified, uncaring, bigoted idiot and his friends are in charge. And let’s not even start in on his choice of Ben Carson to lead this agency in charge of housing. Ben may be qualified to operate on brains, but he hasn’t shown that he knows how to use his when it comes to championing the housing rights of the most vulnerable. Anyone who thought otherwise was delusional. And now hundreds of thousands of poor families that need access to safe, affordable homes are in the crosshairs.