Statement from Community Voices Heard on President Trump’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal

RE: President Trump’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal

New York, NY – The White House’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, released Monday, eliminates critical funding that low-income families across the United States depend on for survival.

New York City would lose hundreds of millions of dollars desperately needed for housing, food assistance, and healthcare. The proposed cuts would make it harder for those in need to receive affordable housing, Medicaid, and food subsidies.

“When the GOP passed their tax plan, we knew it would mean our country would have to borrow on the backs of our future needs. Trump’s budget proposal confirms this—to compensate for massive tax cuts for the wealthy, social safety net programs are being slashed, taking away critical assistance from millions of low-income Americans. New York will certainly feel the effects of these cuts, which could result in millions of low-income people losing their health insurance, subsidized food, and low-cost housing. You can not support a healthy economy if low-income, working people do not have access to programs they need to live and work in our City. New York City is already dealing with its inadequacies to repair our crumbling NYCHA stock and fund SNAP and Medicaid. These budget cuts are a further assault on low-income New Yorkers,” said Aufa Atta-Mensah, Esq., Executive Director, Community Voices Heard.

Community Voices Heard convened the #NoCuts Coalition, an alliance of over 100 community organizations and counting, to organize and stop federal cuts to public housing, SNAP, and Medicaid.

Public Housing
The budget proposed would cut funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by $8.8 billion. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) receives about $2 billion of its overall $3.2 billion operating budget from HUD. Trump’s proposed cuts could mean a reduction of as much as $466 million from NYCHA’s operating budget. It would also eliminate the Public Housing Capital Fund entirely, removing $364 million from NYCHA’s budget for repairs and eliminate nearly 15,000 section 8 vouchers.

“These cuts are beyond concerning with hundreds of thousands of NYCHA residents currently living in rooms with lead paint, toxic mold and have gone several brutal winters without heat or hot water. For myself, I got sick from the cold this winter and my apartment needs more repairs. There should be more inspections of apartments. With NYCHA already unable to maintain the buildings that have been in their care for decades, this decision would only escalate the deterioration we are already experiencing,” said Maria Pacecho, long-time Community Voices Heard member and resident of the Senior Building of UPACA in East Harlem.

The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would total $85 billion. These changes would eliminate the minimum benefit, which would cut benefits to 2 million individuals, mainly low-income seniors and people with disabilities; eliminate spending for SNAP nutrition education; and shift billions of dollars in food purchasing from individual households to the government.

“If my SNAP got cut it would be terrible for me and everyone who relies on it. People rely on it during tough times. These cuts would affect over 1.5 million low-income New Yorkers and could mean dramatic increases in hunger. SNAP benefits are already small, just $1.40 per person, per meal but has shown to lifts millions from poverty and have long-term benefits for children, including improved health and education,” said Ray Lopez, long time Community Voices Heard member and resident of the Bronx.

The proposed budget also calls for significant cuts to Medicaid by converting funding for Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies into block grants for states to create their own health care programs. It would also overhaul Medicaid with a per-person spending cap. Additionally, the administration is encouraging state’s to implement work requirements, which is another means to keep people from using this vital program.

“Even after we account for the $13 billion in additional funding, this action would result in millions of people losing health insurance and cutting funding for opioid disorder treatment. With the opioid crisis reaching every corner of our City, this will have a detrimental effect on those seeking or currently in life-saving treatment programs. We need to give those suffering every opportunity to receive the support necessary to get healthy and become productive members of society. These cuts do more harm than good for not only our local communities, but the country as a whole,” said Darryl Pleasant, long time Community Voices Heard member, recipient of Medicaid and Medicare and resident of Taft Houses (NYCHA).

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