Oppose the Sequestration of Federal Funding for Affordable Housing



We the undersigned strongly oppose the sequestration of federal funding for housing and community development programs as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. We urge Congress to halt the non-defense discretionary cuts and to protect key programs that prevent and end homelessness and truly serve the most vulnerable in our communities. We ask that Congress adopt a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes additional revenue and upholds the federal commitments to affordable housing, community development, and ending homelessness.

On any given night, more than 22,000 people are homeless in Washington State. More than 132,000 extremely low-income families in Washington State are spending more than half their income for rent and have trouble affording basic necessities like food and medicine. During the 2010-2011 school year, one in every forty students in Washington State experienced homelessness.

If the mandated cuts are not halted, we expect to see an unprecedented growth in homelessness throughout our state. Preliminary estimates show that funding levels for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance may need to be reduced by an amount equal to 4,040 section 8 housing vouchers in Washington. There is a strong likelihood that for many individuals and families who currently receive assistance, the loss of a housing voucher could result in homelessness. Those cuts will be compounded by just as devastating cuts to other programs that serve these populations including an estimated $5.1M from public housing operating funds, $3.9M from CDBG Formula Grants, $3.6M from Homeless Assistance Grants, and $2.9M from Native American Housing Grants.

Preventing these cuts isn’t just a moral imperative; it is economically wise as well. Generally cuts to housing and community development programs lead to increased costs for federal, state, and local governments as people who had been treated through cost-effective interventions are forced instead to use expensive options such as emergency rooms, jails, and other services.

The sequestration of federally-funded housing and community development programs is directly in opposition to the vision of a Washington and an America where every resident has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home. Members of Congress, we ask that you protect our most vulnerable, invest in our communities, and halt the sequestration cuts.