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Rolling Back Inclusion

Tracking the assault on community development

The Democracy Collaborative is deeply concerned that the antipathy or outright hostility of both the current administration and the current Congressional majority to the federal infrastructure of community development will translate into irreparable harm to the low income communities, especially communities of color, who continue to struggle with the legacy of decades of disinvestment, discrimination, and dispossession. We believe—along with the rest of the community development field—that robust, effective federal action is necessary to expand the access of marginalized communities to affordable housing, good jobs, and an equitable share in America's prosperity. In order to help communities across the country—both rural and urban—speak up in a moment in which the administration has made clear its intentions to scale back or dismantle these key federal frameworks, we will be tracking the new federal attacks on inclusive community development here, along with state-level measures enabled and encouraged by the new federal context.

The "Omnibus" spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30th, will include funds for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance grant, a program that offers free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income people, and the Community Facilities Program, which provides low-cost loans to build critical community infrastructure like hospitals, schools, and other community buildings. Unfortunately, the Assets for Independence (AFI) program was not funded under the spending deal. The AFI program is a community-based approach for helping low-income families escape poverty through the use of matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). AFI has been successfully helping build assets in low-income communities for over 20 years.

Trump's budget proposes massive cuts to HUD programs. One of the few programs spared from steep cuts is a project-based rental assistance program that Trump personally profits from. The program directs money to Starrett City, a the nation's largest subsidized housing complex, of which Trump is a landlord with a 4 percent stake, earning him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15.

After outrage over the appointment of Lynee Patton, a Trump-family event planner with no housing experience, to administator of HUD's Region II office, HUD officials appear to back tracking about the appointment. In a major about face, HUD spokesman Jereon Brown has now said, "The position is vacant. There's been no official announcement."


The Trump adminstration has appointed Lynne Patton to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey--a position which put her in control of the distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars in New York and New Jersey. Patton is a long time Trump loyalist, serving as the family's "event planner" and arranging Eric Trump's wedding. She has no previous experience in housing or community development.


The city of Great Falls, Montana recently received $893,809 in federal funds for community development and housing projects, but city officials and community development practioners worry that it may be the last time. Great Falls has used CDBG funds to create a revolving loan fund that is administered by the city and Neighborworks Great Falls, the largest nonprofit housing provider. The funds were also used for infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and streets. During that same period, HOME funds have been used to make rental units availbe to low- to moderate-income residents in the city. Unfortunately both these safety nets are slated for elimination in Trump's FY2018 Budget Proposal.

The White House FY2018 Budget Proposal zeros out funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The CDFI Fund makes grants and loans to CDFIs--financial institutions that go to places where banks and other private financial institutions won't go because it isn't profitable. The over 1,000 CDFIs in the US make loans to small businesses, affordable housing providers, health centers, and grocery stores in some of the most disinvested communities. 

The proposed White House Budget would have a major impact on communities across the nation. For Fort Collins, it would mean the loss of key programs that have helped house homeless people in the city and a center for adult learning that helps people learn English or get their GED. Fort Collins would lose $1 million a year in flexible community development funding if the Community Development Block Grant program is eliminated. It would also lose $500,000 a year of support for low- and moderate-income families if the HOME Investment Partnership program is cut.

Syracuse will receive $5.5 million in HUD funding this year, but many in the city worry that these federal funds will run dry if the President's proposed budget comes to fruition. On the chopping block are two programs important to creating affordable housing and community development in Syracuse: the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Program. In fact, CDBGs are the single largest source of direct federal aid each year for the city and the elimination of these programs would have drastic impacts for the city's poores residents.

Republican Representative Pat Tiberi (Ohio) and Democratic Representative Richard E. Neal (Massachusetts) defend the New Markets Tax Credit, a program that is proposed for elimination in the President's FY2018 Budget. In FY2016 alone, the NMTC helped finance 530 businesses, facilities, and economic development projects, while helping to create 11,000 permanent jobs and almost 27,000 construction jobs in distressed rural and urban places. Along with Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Sens. Roy Blutn (R-Mo.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the authors have introduced the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017 to make NMTC a permanent part of the Tax Code. 

In a Senate committee testimony, HUD Secretary Ben Carson defended the slashing of the HUD budget in the administration's FY2018 Budget Proposal. He claimed that Community Development Block Grants, which fund local housing projects across the nation, was not among HUD's "primary goals." He also justified the proposed cuts by telling committee members, "We have to stop the bleeding if we're going to get healing." Confusingly, he also praised the US Interagency Council on Homelesness as "effective," even though the Trump Budget eliminates it entirely.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson lauded the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) while speaking before a Senate committee, praising its effectiveness. It is unclear whether or not, Carson knew that the Trump administration budget eliminates the federal homelessness agency altogether. According to researchers, without USICH, 250,000 people may lose housing assistance and 25,000 may become homeless. The budget proposal also envisions major cuts to the HUD funding, cuts that Carson has defended. 

In an inteview on SeriousXM Radio, HUD Secretary, Ben Cason said that he believes that poverty is a "state of mind." Carson spoke at length about "personal responsibility," while complaining about what he sees as a systemic dependence on government assistance. He claims that current assistance programs "pat them [the poor] on the head and say 'There, there you poor little thing, we're going to take care of all your needs. You don't have to worry about anything.'" Currently HUD is slated for over $6 billion in budget cuts in fiscal year 2018, including cuts that would end grants for first-time homeownership and the Community Development Block Grant.

The priorities proposed in President Trump's recently released budget proposal add to the incomes of the rich while tearing the social safety net out from underneath America's poor. The tax cuts in the proposal include trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy, such as the estate tax and the marginal rate on ordinary income paid by the richest tax payers. While reducing taxes for the rich, Trump also would lessen spending on Medicaid and food stamps. 


The President's just $4.1 trillion budget proposal cuts deeply into programs for the poor, including cuts to health care, food stamps, student loans, and disability payments. Instead the proposal increases spending on the military by 10 percent and includes $1.6 billion to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico.


Trump's budget proposal is set to be unveiled on Tuesday. Among the expected cuts are major cuts to Medicaid and other assistance programs for low-income Americans, such as the anti-hunger program, SNAP.


According to a budget proposal draft obtained by Politico, the HUD budget proposal includes a $6 billion budget cut to the agency for fiscal year 2018, similar to the cuts proposed in President Trump's "Skinny" Budget. The cuts include eliminating Community Development Block Grant program, Choice Neighborhooods, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and rental assistance. Trump's budget proposal is expected to be released on Tuesday.

This tool from the National Priorities Project allows you to compare federal spending for programs with what those taxpayer dollars could have paid for instead. For example, the $7.48 billion spent on the Federal Prison System could have paid for 92,536 elementary school teachers for a year or created 74,790 jobs with supports in high poverty communities or provided wind power to 8.42 million households for a year.


Community Development Block Grants, a $3 billion source of flexible funding for community and economic development and afforable housing for low- and moderate-income communities may be safe for the time being. The federal spending agreement that will keep the Federal Government funded until September that's due to be voted on later this week, shows no cuts to CDBGs. However, the fight to keep the program alive will have to continue this summer and fall as negotiations over the full budget resume.

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on a FY2017 funding deal that includes a $15 million increase for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund by the end of this week. The funding measure will fund goverment program through September 30th. President Trump has proposed elminating the CDGI Fund in his 2018 Budget Blueprint, so the program is not out of the woods yet.

In communities across the country, worries about the loss of the Community Development Block Grant Program continue to rise. In Washington State, CDBGs have helped fund food banks, affordable housing developments, water infrastructure improvements, fire equiment, and much more. For example, in Marysville, CDBGs have allowed the Marysville Community Food Bank to pack food backpacks that low-income students could take home on Fridays so that they would not go hungry over the weekend. The program runs on a slim $15,000 yearly budget from the CDBG program, but has a big impact in the community. Without CDBG funding 400 students in 22 schools would likely go hungry each weekend.

Trump's tax proposal has historic preservationists and developers worried about revival efforts in Buffalo. The federal historic preservation tax credits have been used to finance 65 major development projects in the city, helping to fund more that $406 million in development in the region. The New Markets Tax Credit has also been used to fund 13 major local projects for more than $182 million in development in the region over the years. With lower corporate tax rates these programs would be less effective and the White House proposed eliminating the New Markets Tax Credit all together in its 2018 budget.

Across the US, only 21 units are available per 100 extremely low-income renter households without government assistance, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. The affordable housing crisis transcends the urban-rural political divide. The report shows that without federal assistance, rural counties would lose 40 percent of the housing stock that's affordable to extremely low-income households and urban counties would lose 57 percent. Despite promises to help rural America and fix "inner cities," President Trump's budget blueprint proposes cutting the USDA and HUD progrmas assistance programs.

The Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund Program helps attract investment to underserved rural and urban areas. Last year CDFI Fund yielded $2.1 billion in loans and investments that led to the creation of 28,000 jobs. Also proposed for cuts from the US Treasury's budget is the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which has generated $8 of private investment for every $1 of federal funding. The NMTC program has created or retained nearly 300,000 jobs since 2003. Together the loss of these programs would put an end to two decades of investing and development in distressed and underserved areas.

The City of Los Angeles plans to build 10,000 new units of affordable housing to help house its homeless population may be hurt by President Trump's proposal to cut the corporate tax rate by 20 percent. In addition to the bond money the city has allocated to the housing, developers also rely on the Low-Income Tax Credit program to fund the low-income developments. If these tax credits are worth less, investors may pull back from affordable housing plans. Already based on speculation about the corporate tax rate, the value of the credits have fallen by about 15 percent. 

Low-income housing tax credits are key to financing affordable housing project in the US. If President Trump's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate by 20 percent goes through, the future of many affordable housing projects is at risk. Already the president's promises have led some investors to reduce their investments in low-income housing developments. 

According to a new poll by POLITICO, 88 percent of mayors ay that Trump's proposed budget would be "devastating" or "extremely painful" to their city. Based on his proposed budget, only 7 percent of mayors believe he cares about inner cities as he claims. Mayors are most concerned about cuts to Community Development Block Grants and Housing. 

HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program has been lauded by Secretary Ben Carson, who has stated that he hopes to expand the program, and legislators on both sides of the aisle. The program tries to save neglected public housing units by privatizing them, rather than adequately funding the billions need for backlogged repair. 60,000 public housing units have been converted through the program, but housing advocates are worried because many of the conversions have been nightmares for the tenants, with problems raging from illegal threats of eviction to discrimination against families with children and the disabled.

In Cairo, Illinois, junior high school students are writing letters to HUD Secretary to ask him to do more to fix public housing and help make sure they do not lose their homes. In early April, HUD announced that 185 families living in two public housing complexes would have to relocate, without offering any plan for providing new housing for the displaced. The move will affect 15 percent of Cairo's population. Despite the fact that public housing is already in a terrible state of disreppair, the White House has proposed a 13 percent cut to public housing authorities' budgets. Under such cruel measures, displacement of families like those in Cairo will only accelerate.

Community Development Block Grants provide flexible funding to cities, towns, and states for development efforts. Many of the programs and projects funded by CDBGs don't make headlines despite serving large numbers of low- and moderate- income people. Funding for CDBGS has dropped steadily from $15 billion in 1979 to $3.5 billion in 2015. Trump's budget proposes eliminating the program altogether.

Uncertainty and threatened cuts at the federal level are impacting the ability of local community development projects to move forward.

"The zeroing out in the proposed federal budget of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding could cost Northeast Ohio cities and counties more than $40 million annually. That's federal money they have relied on for more than 40 years for everything from providing meals to senior citizens to storefront renovation and smoothing out potholed roads."

For senior households across the US, HUD Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program means not having to choose between paying rent or obtaining healthcare, food, or medicine. The program has already been relying on reserves to fund the rental assistance for seniors over the past few years. If Congress fails to enact the FY17 HUD appropriations bill, about 17 percent of the Section 202 rental renewals will be unfunded. Additionally the White House's proposal to cut the HUD budget by 13 percent in FY18 would likely also affect the 342,000 senior households in public housing and the 600,00 senior households that receive general rental assistance.

For senior households across the US, HUD Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program means not having to choose between paying rent or obtaining healthcare, food, or medicine. The program has already been relying on reserves to fund the rental assistance for seniors over the past few years. If Congress fails to enact the FY17 HUD appropriations bill, about 17 percent of the Section 202 rental renewals will be unfunded. Additionally the White House's proposal to cut the HUD budget by 13 percent in FY18 would likely also affect the 342,000 senior households in public housing and the 600,00 senior households that receive general rental assistance.

While the massive cuts to funding for community development programs proposed in the White House Budget have gotten a lot of attention, Trump's promises to slash corporate tax rates could have an equally devastating impact for inclusive community development. Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) and New Market Tax Credts (NMTCs) will be less attractive and valuable to investors if corporate tax rates have already been significantly lowered. S-Corp Employee Stock Onwership Plans (ESOPs) would also like see declines in growth, because the primary driver of transitioning to an ESOP for companies has been as a tax savings.

Trump has promised to revive the coal industry by signing a long-promised executive order to undo the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulations. Despite his promises to help coal miners, his budget calls for the elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which has inested more than $75.5 million to ease the transition from a coal-dominated economy to greater economic diversification.

While the devastation that will result from Trump's proposed budget cuts to community development, Trump's campaign promises to slash the corporate tax rate have already had major impacts for affordable housing development in Ohio. The promised tax cut has cause a 5 to 15 percent decrease in value for LIHTCs, which means a possible funding gap of $500,000 to $1.5 million for low-income housing projects in the state. The current lower valuations of the credits mean that between five and seven fewer projects will receive funds next year, resulting in 200-500 fewer affordable housing units for Ohio families. 

In Philadelphia, city officials have created an action plan in response to Trump's budget proposal to urge city residents to contact elected officials to ask that they fully fund HUD in the coming fiscal year. 

The Trump administration claims that HUD's Community Development Block Grants (CDGB) program is "not well-targeted to the poorest populations," and that it "has not demonstrated results." Many communities who have used the funds to revitalize neighborhoods, build community spaces, or provide affordable housing would disagree with this assessment. Indianapolis, which has used the approximately $8 million in CDBGs it receives each year to leverage further private and non-profit dollars for its most distressed neighborhoods, is one city that has seen demonstrable results in the poorest areas as a result of federal investments.

The proposed budget cuts to HUD would have a huge impact on Boston's transitional housing programs for recovering addicts seeking permanent housing. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development aims to end homelessness in the city by 2018, and the number of people housed in emergency shelters for six months or more has been cut in half in the past year. This progress may be undone according to Sheila Dillon, Boston housing chief, who says, "HUD has made it very clear to us...that they were not going to fund transitional housing or transitional programs anymore."


In February, Julián Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama Adminstration shared his view of the important investments HUD makes in both rural and urban communities across America in an interview with David Axelrod. During the interview, Castro noted that HUD's staff has been halved since 1981. In the weeks following the interview, the Trump Administration released a budget blueprint that would cut HUD's funding by over $6 billion, putting further strain on the already under-resourced agency.

Trump's budget blueprint will have a disproportionate effect on the Black community. Massive funding cuts proposed for HUD would be particularly detrimental to the Black community. For example, Atalanta received a $30 million grant through the Choice Neighborhoods program (which would be eliminated in Trump's budget) to cover housing, workforce training, and more, much of which has been directed toward its westside neighborhoods. However the attacks on fair, affordable housing began before Trump's budget plan was released. The proposed Republican bill to nullify HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule would eliminate a policy to address racial disparities, and even ban the collection of data to understand how and where racial disparities exist.

In Arizona, Trump's proposed cuts to HUD's Communtiy Development Block Grants (CDBG) program would put an end to numerous affordable housing programs. The award-winning Apache ASL Trails apartments for deaf seniors in Tempe wouldn't have been built without CDBG Funding. Financial counceling services provided through HUD funding wouldn't have helped tens of thousands of Phoenix homeowners. In Mesa, hundreds of victims of domestic violence and their children would be without the safe shelter provide by the Autumn House. In Glendale, 30 families with disabled family-members wouldn't have been provided affordable housing through the Orchard Glen neighborhood home. 

In the state of Illinois, the proposed $6.2 billion in cuts to HUD has affordable housing advocates bracing for massive losses to rental assistance vouchers. Although housing vouchers were not specifically mentioned in the HUD cuts, only $4 billion in specific cut have been suggested, and many believe that vouchers are a likely target. The state stands to lose 8,298 vouchers according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Chicago area would also lose $141 million in Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnership program funds. 

Several Republican legislators have voiced disapproval of President Trump's Blueprint Budget due to its proposed reductions and eliminations of programs that serve their consituency. Many of agencies and programs slated for major funding cuts benefit poor rural voters, exactly those who supported Trump in the election, the most, including the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), Community Development Block Grants, and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Community Services, which administers programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

While possible elimination of popular agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts have garnered a lot of public anger, several agencies focused on community development in some of the most poverty-stricken areas are also at risk of being eliminated if Congress approves Trump's proposed budget.

In addition to major funding cuts from most federal agencies, 19 independent federal agencies are being cut alltogether. These 19 agencies include 6 agencies related to community development: Interagency Council on Homelessness, Appalachian Regional Comission, Delta Regional Authority, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks America). The Washington Post details the role of each of these organizations.

The $6.2 billion in HUD budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration are the largest cuts in housing aid since the Reagan administration. It's estimated that more than 200,000 families, seniors, and people with disabilities who use the key HUD assistance programs being slashed would be in immediate risk of homelessness. Trump will also make the cuts in USDA rural rental assistance programs made during the Obama administration permanent. 

Trump's recently unveiled budget plan would slash or eliminate programs that provide help for the lowest-income Americans. In fact, the budget hurts the working poor in rural and small towns, the core of Trumps supporters, the most, according to some experts. If carried out, the budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grants, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Home Investment Partnership Program, the Community Development Financial Insititutions Fund Grants, and regional development agencies such as the Denali Commission in Alaska. These programs serve some of the most distressed communities of the coutry. 

Urban Habitat has released a statement opposing the over $6 billion in cuts proposed for HUD, calling upon people rise up against the administration's inhumane policies "by placing local and regional self-governance on the frontlines of resistance."


Trump's proposed $6.2 billion cut to HUD would dramatically reduce New York's ability to provide public housing to more than 400,000 people. The New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) funding is composed of 60 percent HUD federal funding; preliminary estimates are that a $6 billion cut to HUD funding would lead to a devastating $350 million drop in NYCHA's budget for 2018.

Trump's proposal for the discretionary spending budget has been released. From the USDA to the Commerce Department to the HUD, important community development programs and funding sources were hit hard accross the board. The Washington Post details the cuts within each department. 


Under Trump's proposed budt the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, a program commonly known as NeighborWorks America, would be completely defunded. NeighborWorks America is a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that provides support for community development and affordable housing. Just in 2016, the program created or maintained more than 53,000 jobs, helped 21,000 people become homeowners, assisted 360,000 other families find affordable housing, made repairs to more than 55,000 homes, and provided financial education to more than 116,000 individuals. It's estimated that in 2013, NeighborWorks helped 1.6 million homeowners avoid foreclosure, in addition to ranking as the third largest homebulider that year.

A potential $6 billion budget cut to HUD is coming at a time when more Americans are in need of affordable housing and funding has already been cut in past years. If HUD's draft budget is implemented, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) estmates that 200,000 housing vouchers, 10,000 senior housing units, and 6,800 units for people with disabilites would be lost. Beyond housing, HUD's programs have a ripple effect through local economies, improving education and health outcomes and creating jobs. A cut to the HUD budget this big would have destructive results extending beyond affordable hosuing.

Despite having pledged under oath to protect HUD programs during confirmation hearings, even going so far as to say "when it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unsual punishment to withdraw those program before you provide an alternative route," Carson has barely reacted to the proposed $6 billion in cuts to HUD. 

In Massachusetts, low-income housing is being delayed due to the falling value of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits caused by Trump's campaign promise to lower the corporate tax rate. Community development experts in the state say that projects six to 12 months from construction are most at risk. In addition to the falling value of LIHTCs, the possible budget cuts on the horizion for HUD, including the Community Development Block Grant Program and Federal HIstoric Tax Credit program, have affordable housing advocates and developers worried about a broader threat to affordable housing.

HUD may face a $6 billion budget cut next year, and about $4 billion of the cuts are to the departments community development programs. The other $2 billion in cuts mostly come out of public housing programs with assistance for the elderly, veterans, and Native Americans as the worst hit. HUD's federal rental assistance programs help 4.1 million people, including 1.4 million children, afford safe housing each year. 

The Right to the City Alliance has released a statement on the proposed $6 billion in budget cuts, comdemning them as "yet another blatant attack on communities of color, immigrants, indigenous communities, differently-abled peoples, women, trans and gender nonconforming people. They are an attack on the fabric of our communities and on millions of low-income and working families who are struggling to find or keep permanent jobs and housing." RTC instead calls for investment in "healthy, safe, and sustainable communties." 

With preliminary budget documents showing a $6 billion dollar cut to HUD, Ben Carson will need to both clarify his position on key HUD programs and take immediate action if he "means to preserve HUD's core functions and hope local officials get the support that they need to do their work." Housing Choice Vouchers, HOME, Community Development Block Grants, and Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives will be totally cut according to the plans. The Office of Native American Programs may also be cut by more than a quarter.

Despite Carson's confirmation hearings, in which he called rental assistance progrmas and public housing "life saving" and promised not to pull the rug out from under people relying on federal programs to obtain affordable housing, the recently released HUD budgets contradict Carson's statements. The preliminary budget cuts of $6 billion would eliminate Community Development Block, the HOME Program, and funding for maintianing public housing. There would also be $300 million cut from rental assistance programs for veterans, $42 million cut from senior housing, $29 million cut from housing for people with disabilities, and $150 cut from Native American housing block grants.

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 seeks to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 50 percent. The bill, similar to one introduced in 2016, would expand the program to allow some students to qualify for LIHTC housing, and facilitate the development of housing for Native Americans, boost developments projects for extremely low-income occupants, and prohibit states from including local approval or local contribution provisions as a requirement for qualification.

11 Senators are co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would expand and strengthen the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 would expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 50 percent.  It is estimated that if passed, the legislation would help create 1.3 million affordable homes in the next 10 years, adding about 400,000 units to the projections under the current program.

Keywords: Article, HUD, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Housing assistance provided by HUD could see drastic cuts under new fiscal policies being considered by the White House and Congress. A massive corporate tax cut, coupled with increased military spending and a matching decrease in funding to domestic discretionary programs, could mean that some 5 million Americans may lose their housing assistance.

Although Trump has not yet moved to fulfill his campaign trail promise to lower the corporate tax rate, the affordable rental housing has already been hit hard. With investors anticipating a lower tax rate, the value of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which fund about 90 percent of low income housing in the country, have dropped significantly since the election of Trump. Investors are even pulling out of existing projects, leaving developers scrambling to fill the funding gaps.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has officially been confirmed as the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary. Carson has no government experience and had previously said that he was not qualified to run HUD or for government service. Carson’s positions on many key HUD programs remain unclear.


Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, has been confirmed to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He has voiced support for some important inclusive housing programs, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) program. However, many are concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and conservative position.


The New York Times has reported that it has obtained documents that show that the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund “would be all but eliminated” by Trump Administration budget cuts. The $258 million dollar program, which helps banks, credit unions, and loan funds in low income communities with development efforts, costs Americans about $0.79 each. The CDFI Coalition has released a statement opposing the elimination of the CDFI Fund in response to the news.

Trump’s promise to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent continues to have a negative impact on the development of low income housing. The value of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits dropped significantly around the time of the election, and this led investors around the country to hold off on planned affordable housing projects. Not only will low-income families in need of affordable shelter be affected, it’s likely to also be felt by workers in the construction industry.

Trump’s soon to be released “skinny” budget will likely eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The CDFI Coalition, a group of more than one-hundred community development lenders and investors to low-income communities, has expressed concern that the Trump administration hopes to dismantle the Fund, which primarily goes to those communities that Trump claims he hopes to help—struggling inner cities and rural towns. Last year the CDFI Fund financed over 11,000 businesses and helped create 33,000 affordable housing units.

Minnesota affordable housing projects come up short as funding for low-income housing is hurt by Trump’s promises of a significant corporate tax cut. 

In California, a state struggling with sky high rents and affordable housing shortages, the uncertainty about the corporate tax rate and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit market, has created distress. The tax credit program is the largest source of funding for affordable housing, and according to the California Housing Partnership, the downturn could mean a drop in funding for low-income housing of $250 million this year.

Both the state of Illinois and the Trump administration are suggesting severe budget cuts. Chicago, a city that has seemingly caught Trump’s attention as an example of his outdated vision of “inner cities,” could be profoundly affected by draconian austerity measures and cuts to social services from both levels. 

On the campaign trail, Trump proclaimed that he would protect federal programs for helping low-income and elderly Americans. However many of his cabinet appointees have expressed very different views and hope to elimate or reduce social safety net programs. Already Trump's budget office has alluded to future cuts to the Legal Service Corporation, Appalachian Regional Commission, Americorps, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.

A massive new investment in infrastructure may be one of the only measures that retains bipartisan support in Washington. With plans circulating and Trump’s campaign promise to deliver $1 trillion in investment, the type of infrastructure that this funding pays for could have enduring impacts—positive or negative—on people and place. A “WPA 2.0” could be one way to “develop new systems of infrastructure that can help ameliorate the impacts of urbanization and climate change” and use federal infrastructure funding to lift up both communities and people.   


Bipartisan bills to protect the US Treasury's New Markets Tax Credit, which provides key funding to poor rural and urban zip codes, were introduced in the House and Senate. NMTCs have created an estimated 750,000 jobs and brough $75 billion in total capital investment to low-income communities. The New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017 would make the program permanent if passed. 

In the face of cuts to federal spending on community development and affordable housing, Cities could fund low-income housing without federal support using a luxury housing tax as has been used in New York City.

A senior advisor at HUD was recently fired for criticizing Trump's portrayal of "inner cities as if they are the ailments of American society and should be exterminated and swiftly removed" during the campaign.


Uncertainty in the low-income housing tax credit marketplace is stalling affordable housing development in Massachusetts. This could potentially affect 23 projects and more than a thousand units in the state.

After pressure from over 2,000 private and public organizations in every state, bipartisan legislation to make the New Markets Tax Credit permanent has been introduced in both the House and Senate.

HUD will begin an investigation into predatory lending, neglect of foreclosed properties, and discrimination in communities of color by One West Bank, which was previously headed by Steve Mnuchin, Trump's Treasury Secretary. 

The FBI has released hundreds of pages on the 1970s Trump Management Co. housing discrimination case. During the case, which was later settled, the Trump company was accused of racially discriminatory rental practices, including telling potential black tenants that rental costs were twice as high as the actual cost and using a racial code written on rental applications.

Uncertainty about financing affordable housing in Pittsburgh shows how Trump policies could disrupt plans to provide low-income housing in cities across the nation. City officials now worry about displacement, gentrification, and people being pushed out of their communities if these programs don't continue.

Corporate tax reform, budget negotiations, implementation of HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, and the infrastructure package are high stakes policy decisions on the horizon that could have major implications for community development.

Communty development organization, banks, credit unions, businesses, chamber of commerces, non-profit groups, schools, universities, city governments, and community leaders in every state have signed a letter asking Congress to permanently authorize and expand the New Markets Tax Credit. Over 2,000 groups have called on Congress to make this economic development program permanent that is primarily used in severely distressed communities.

Trump's policies to "fix" inner cities are likely to hit the poor, immigrants, and people of color the hardest. 

Trump's directive to roll back Dodd-Frank could create a sequel to the 2008 housing crisis. An economic blow such as this would be especially punishing to his core supporters.


Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan is missing a key economic issue--housing. Not only would federally funded housing infrastructure provide stable shelter for American families, research also shows that housing is an effective way to stimulate the economy and create jobs. 

GOP plan to abolish the estate tax would result in large tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, including many of Trump's cabinet picks.

EPA grants for brownfield redevelopment are frozen, at least temporarily, if not permanently.


Apparently, funding for brownfield development and other EPA revolving loan fund grants is not paused according to Trump transition team.


Heritage Foundation budget proposal, currently being used as a model for Trump's first proposed budget, would eliminate the CDFI Fund and Community Development Block Grants, along with many other federal government agencies and programs.

Ben Carson's HUD Secreatry confirmation hearing reveals his inconsistent positions on HUD's key programs. 

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA (NCBA CLUSA) has released a statement opposing the proposed cuts to and elimination of several programs critical to the development and support of the work of cooperatives in Trump's budget plan. The budget proposing cutting the USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) and regional development agencies. 

Analysis from Ohio shows how Trump's lean budget would impact state budgets and programs. In Ohio, federal funds make up 37 percent of the state's budget (higher than the national average of 31 percent). Many organizations in the state rely on Community Development Block Grants to fund community development at the local level. Communities in the state will lose if the Appalachian Regional Commission, Economic Development Administration, and the Minority Business Development Agency are eliminated.