Housing and Urban Development reversal could cost city $42 million in federal housing assistance each year, putting in jeopardy affordable housing for more than 71,000 Baltimore low-income households
“Low-income families need a government on their side when it comes to their day-to-day needs and putting a roof over their heads,” Mikulski says
WASHINGTON – March 13, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, at a hearing of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, called on Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro to ensure that the City of Baltimore receives its fair share of federal housing support for low-income families and individuals. The Senator’s request follows a reversal from HUD on the terms of its Moving to Work (MTW) agreement with the City of Baltimore that would cut its federal low-incoming housing subsidy by as much as 46 percent, costing the city $42 million in federal funding each year.
“Low-income families need a government on their side when it comes to their day-to-day needs and putting a roof over their heads,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’m deeply troubled that federal funding for Baltimore’s public housing could be cut by as much as 46 percent. The loss of more than $42 million a year to Baltimore communities would devastate its ability to provide cost effective and affordable housing to families who need it most. We need a path forward that doesn’t put at risk the revitalization and renewal of Baltimore’s low-income housing because of a bureaucratic one-size-fits-all approach.”
At the hearing, Senator Mikulski called on Secretary Castro to work with City officials to examine the circumstances affecting this proposed change to the existing MTW agreement and the sharp elimination of federal funding that is being proposed. The Senator also called on Secretary Castro to review additional HUD funding sources for low-income housing in Baltimore to ensure the City receives its fair share.
Since 2005, the City of Baltimore has been granted full Moving to Work (MTW) status by HUD. MTW is a federal demonstration program for public housing authorities that provides them the opportunity to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies that use federal dollars more efficiently, help residents find employment and become self-sufficient, and increase housing choices for low-income families. Each year this program has allowed Baltimore to move a modest percentage of funds between the City’s public housing and section 8 programs, subject to HUD approval, to tackle the most vexing challenges it has in housing the thousands of very low-income families and individuals who lack the means to fully pay for their own shelter.
Despite a letter from HUD to the City of Baltimore in March 2014 stating that the City’s MTW agreement would be renewed for 10 years without significant change to its financial terms, the agency has said it is now proposing to cut Baltimore’s public housing operating subsidy by as much as 46 percent. This would cost the City more than $42 million each year in federal funding and put in jeopardy affordable housing for the more than 71,000 Baltimore households now on the City’s waiting list. Similar cuts are being proposed in 10 other cities around the country, including: Cambridge, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois; Delaware State; Lawrence/Douglas County, Kansas; New Haven, Connecticut; Oakland, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington.