Feb 13, 2002
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, submitted the following statement at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Housing at which Mel Martinez, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, defended the Administration's HUD budget proposal:

"The Administration's 2003 HUD budget proposal severely neglects the nation's housing needs and threatens New York City's ability to improve the safety of public housing. The Bush housing budget neglects the homeless and limits the ability of housing authorities to maintain livable developments. As the housing budget moves through Congress I will fight to improve this woefully inadequate budget proposal.

"While the Administration budget claims to increase HUD funding by over $2 billion, almost all of the increase goes to expiring Section 8 contracts at a time when Congressional hearings have demonstrated a tremendous need for new housing around the country. By HUD's own admission 5 million American families have worst case housing needs and yet the budget requests only 34,000 incremental vouchers, half the number funded two years ago.

"The Administration's budget proposal significantly cuts pubic housing including a $438 million cut to the capital fund used for repairs. Yet, at the same time the Administration acknowledges that public housing nationwide is in need of $20 billion in repair work. The budget follows through with the Administration's plan to discontinue to the Drug Elimination Program which funds extra police officers in housing projects in New York City and around the country. The Administration's contention that this program is ineffective is simply wrong. In New York City, the crime rate dropped at Housing Authority developments by 6.2% from 1999 to 2000 versus 5.6% citywide. This is due in large part to the 270 police officers funded by Drug Elimination Program. HUD contends that funding can be made up from other sources, but given the lack of a funding commitment to public housing this simply is not possible.

"Homelessness remains a problem across America. While the budget submission claims that ending chronic homelessness in the next decade is a 'top objective' of President Bush's HUD plan, the budget fails to boost overall homelessness funding. The cost of renewing Shelter Plus Grants is estimated to rise by $95 million in Fiscal Year 2003 and failing to boost that funding means fewer shelters will actually be funded by HUD next year. Finally, the Administration proposal for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) fails to keep up with inflation and the funding for the new round of empowerment zones is zeroed out. While apparently aware of the tremendous needs around the country, the Administration is unwilling to put funds where they are needed.