[Hpn] HUD Budget Cuts Denounced by U.S. Conference of Mayors & Cuomo fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 26 Sep 2000 12:01:53 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  PRNewswire - 20 Sep 2000



WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Andrew Cuomo and members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
today criticized House and Senate Appropriations Committees for "dramatically
underfunding" HUD's proposed fiscal year 2001 budget.

"If either the Senate or House budget becomes reality, it means that
Congress has squandered this historic opportunity to help many Americans who
need assistance to obtain affordable, decent, and safe housing," Cuomo said
during a joint press conference with the USCM.

Joining Cuomo in person were the following two mayors: USCM President H.
Brent Coles, Boise, ID; and Anthony Masiello, Buffalo, NY; and Tom Cochran,
executive director, USCM. Participating by telephone were mayors Scott King,
Gary, IN; Lee Brown, Houston; Donald Plusquellic, Akron; Jim Dailey, Little
Rock; Preston Daniels, Des Moines; Robert Bowser, East Orange, NJ; Sarah Bost,
Irvington, NJ; Julie Holbrook, Covington, WA; Paul Schell, Seattle; Kay
Barnes, Kansas City, MO; John Street, Philadelphia; James Sheets, Quincy, MA;
and Dennis Archer, Detroit. Representing their mayors were: Vincent Sylvain,
New Orleans; James Nicholson, Fayetteville, AR; and Myrna Hipp, Denver.

In February, President Clinton proposed increasing HUD's budget by $6
billion in fiscal year 2001 to $32.1 billion -- "the strongest HUD budget in
more than 20 years, with increases in every program area," Cuomo said at the
time.<P>Included among the program cuts made by Congress were:

* $275 million from the fiscal year 2000 voucher account and failure to
fund the $400 increase needed to renew all current vouchers;

* elimination of 120,000 new rental assistance vouchers;

* $100 million from Community Development Block Grants that invest in a
broad range of community projects;

* $75 million from homeless assistance programs;

* $50 million from the HOME program to expand homeownership;

* $50 million from programs to revitalize public housing;

* $37 million from a new initiative called American Private Investment
Corporation, part of President Clinton and Speaker Hastert's agreed-upon
plan designed to spark economic development;

* $35 million from Drug Elimination Grants for public housing<P>developments;

* $28 million to help people more than 5,000 people with AIDS get housing;

* $6 million from programs to fight housing discrimination and ensure
equal access to housing for all Americans.

According to Mayor Coles, "cities face many challenges, particularly in
the areas of affordable housing, and community and economic development. We
still have neighborhoods and families who have not participated in the
economic recovery. We owe children in these communities stable and healthy
neighborhoods. I call on Congress to restore the $2.5 billion to HUD's budget
so that we can continue to build stronger communities for the American

Mayor Masiello noted that Buffalo, New York state's second largest city,
is "poised to take its place among the significant city giants of the 21st
century," in part because of the common sense budgets of recent years.
"Buffalo is making the most of this unprecedented period of prosperity," the
mayor said. "The budget cuts that have been announced will impact each and
every member of our community and are tantamount to damaging neighborhoods
throughout a city long known as the "City of Good Neighbors.'"

Cuomo said that the House version of HUD's budget is $2.5 billion less
than the President's request and includes no new housing vouchers.

"We already have plenty of studies on affordable housing in this country,
and they all say the same thing: housing needs are at an all-time high," Cuomo
said. "We don't need another study. What we need is new housing, but
unfortunately, the House budget doesn't provide any."

The Senate version is not that much better, Cuomo lamented, because the
Senate bill cuts $1.8 billion from the request. Unfortunately, the Senate bill
did not include HUD's new housing production program. However, the Senate has
acknowledged the need for such a program through its $1 billion proposal.

Cuomo characterized the Senate version, however, as "too little, too
late." He added that it does not identify the source of the funds for new
housing production, and like the House bill, contains no funds for new


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