What the Trump budget proposal means for ending homelessness in DC
By Jesse Rabinowitz and Lara Pukatch- Miriam’s Kitchen
Last week, The Trump Administration released their proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. If enacted, the proposal would cut many vital programs that address homelessness, housing instability, and hunger. The proposed budget represents a huge step backwards from the nationwide progress we have made towards ending homelessness and is a missed opportunity to further equity and connect our neighbors to life-saving housing.
Potential national impacts
First, it’s worth reiterating that the President’s budget proposal is just that – a proposed budget that outlines the Administration’s spending priorities. It is not binding, and advocates and policy makers across the country will be working with Congress to improve the President’s budget request and to restore funding critical to ending homelessness and housing instability.
That said, Trump’s proposed budget does not meaningfully addressing the nation’s growing affordable housing and homelessness crises. Instead, it intends to slash funds for housing and homeless assistance programs and public housing repairs.
To learn more, please check out the following resources from our partners at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which include detailed breakdowns of the proposed budget as well as opportunities to take action.
What does this mean for DC?
Because DC has devoted significant local funding to end homelessness, most of our housing programs do not depend on the federal budget to stay afloat. A question we often receive is: does this mean that individuals and families who recently exited homelessness into Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) will lose their voucher(s)? The answer is no. DC’s PSH program is almost entirely locally funded so proposed or real cuts to the federal budget will not directly impact this program.
Unfortunately, however, several proposed cuts, if passed, would negatively impact our neighbors living on very low incomes, such as changes to SNAP (food stamps) and the recent Public Charge ruling. We are working closely with our partners who work closely on issues such as food security and immigration to oppose proposed cuts and to mitigate harmful impacts on our guests and neighbors.
Throughout history, budgets and policies have been at the center of the types of discrimination that have directly contributed to homelessness. Similarly, new budgets and policies are needed to reverse the harm they have inflicted and are a vital tool in ensuring all our neighbors have the housing they deserve. As an organization focused on ending chronic homelessness in DC, we will continue to focus on pushing Mayor Bowser to create a budget that counters the harmful cuts proposed at the national level. Now more than ever, we are committed to showing the country that ending homelessness is possible in our Nation’s capital.
How you can help
Right now, Mayor Bowser is putting together her FY21 budget proposal for the District and we hope you will join us in urging her to end chronic homelessness for 1,800 households. Make sure you’re following The Way Home Campaign, our advocacy movement to end long term homelessness in DC, and click here for the latest updates and opportunities to take action.