Next on the chopping block: $73 million in federal public housing money

U.S. Senators are sharpening their knives, preparing to shave billions in federal housing and human services money slated to flow to cities, including Chicago next year. Down at City Hall, housing advocates lamented the potential loss of money they say is sorely needed to finish the overhaul of public housing and to offset rents for the elderly, disabled and poor.

On Tuesday, a hearing was called at the behest of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore who recently introduced a resolution urging Illinois' Congressional delegation and their colleagues to maintain the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding for the coming year.

“Never before, since at least the 1920s, before the Great Depression, has there been such a disparity in wealth between the very rich at the top and the rest of us,” he said. “This hearing is just one small step in that effort to cast a light on the painful impact that these cuts will have on the citizens and the residents of Chicago.” Watch:

By the National Low Income Housing Coalition's count, the Chicago Housing Authority would see its capital and operating funds cut by 27 percent in 2012 compared with 2010 spending. In real numbers, those cuts would amount to $73 million.

That doesn't include the additional cuts that are being proposed to Housing Choice Vouchers, a program that helps offset rents for some 37,000 households in Chicago. "Almost half of the households who participate in the [Housing Choice Vouchers] program in Chicago are seniors and persons with disabilities, and a good percentage of the households are employed," noted Kate Walz, an attorney with the Sargent Shriver National Center of Poverty Law, in her testimony at the hearing.

A Senate subcommittee opened debate over the proposal on the floor Thursday. Check out the National Low Income Housing Coalition breakdown of the bill here. The Senate could vote on the bill as soon as Oct. 17.  If approved, the measure will go to a conference committee where it will be merged with a House proposal, which passed out of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies earlier this month. The bills emerging from both chambers fall short of the funding that President Barack Obama had proposed earlier this year.

"These cuts are coming at a very critical time," Moore said. "That disparity [in wealth] has increased the great recession and for many people a great depression that has not left the poor and middle class."

© Community Renewal Society 2011

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  • Life is getting tough, isn't it?

    I thought that Joe Moore had a direct line to Schakowsky, so why we need the resolution is beyond me.

    BTW, you cry about lack of funds, but you don't demonstrate that funds previously allocated have been used effectively, except to move the problem to the south suburbs. Maybe some accountability, first?

  • Hurray!!!Hurray!!!This is the bright side of the economic downturn. As a result of this the CHA will be forced to reduce the amount of public housing units and seek more market rate renters and home buyers . Also there is a possiblity they will have to demolish buildings and sell to dvelopers, or they will have to sell the current apartments to realestate companies. This puts a huge dent in the CHA plans for transformation ( which is predominately planned for middle class black areas) that seeks to disperse them and destroy communities and suburbs throughout the state. Oh yes, less section 8 vouchers for the greedy landlords who don't care nothing about the community. The will actually have to compete in the market for tenants.

    Those republicans aren't so bad after all.

  • Less vouchers/public housing = less crime/ higher property values

    Chatham definetly needs this,u are right carmelcutie the repubs are right on this one.

  • Were we all reading the same article? Kate Walz's comment relates to the housing choice voucher program. These cuts will affect seniors and the working poor. If a unit rents for $800 and the voucher covers $540, a family, barely making it, would have to pay more of its hard-earned money for rent if the program is cut or not funded. Seniors represent approximately 1/3 of all voucher holders. Less vouchers or reduced vouchers would mean elderly and working poor families barely making it will now become homelessness. A family or senior having a voucher to help with the high cost of housing does not mean more crime and has nothing to do with property values. Public housing is an entirely different entity from the housing choice voucher program. Public housing needs to be funded and restored in the city of Chicago. The plan for transformation is a plan for dislocation and gentrification...plain and simple. The moral conscience of America (who are NOT the Republicans in Congress and no, they don't have it right), sane people who see what's happening to this country should be marching on Washington to stop the cuts to HUD, medicare, medicaid and social security!!

  • To skeptical 1:

    There will be less vouchers, it will not be abolished alltogether. This is where the government is going to have to prioritise. People who are senior, vets, or disabled should get to keep their vouchers while the younger ones don't . This means that the rest who are single mothers will have to live at home with their families like they used to in
    the old days, and like the other single mothers who don't have the vouchers. People have to live with the consequences of their actions. If u have a baby by a young man that can't support you or your children you are going to have a tough time and be vulnerable.
    Thats life.

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