White House Reportedly Plans Public Housing Funds Cut : Budget: About $2 billion would be diverted to other programs with higher priorities in the Clinton Administration, sources say.


The Clinton Administration is planning to cut more than $2 billion from several longstanding federal public housing programs in an effort to free more funds for higher priority initiatives endorsed by the White House, sources here said Friday.

Given the tight fiscal constraints it is facing, the White House has been forced to reduce funding for an array of programs in the 1995 budget that it will present to Congress next month. But one Administration source acknowledged that slashing outlays for public housing could have a devastating impact because it would “hurt the most needy” Americans.

Some of the money likely would be redirected toward other programs that provide rental assistance for the poor and housing for the homeless.

As negotiations continue over the shape of the 1995 budget, sources in Congress and the Administration said that Clinton is likely to cut funding to $2.6 billion from $4.6 billion for the primary federal programs that create public housing units and renovate old ones.

“It’s a very serious and significant setback for the programs and for the people who use the progued that the planned cuts are inconsistent with the President’s oft-stated goals of helping people get off welfare, creating jobs and improving the lives and opportunities of poor Americans.


“It’s inconsistent for the Administration to say it’s going to get people off welfare, improve education for low-income Americans and improve health care for poor Americans when they’re not providing stable housing situations for people to live in,” said Cushing Dolbeare, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. “Without more housing available, it is inconceivable to me that that President can achieve his other promises.”

Without stable housing, people on welfare will not be able to concentrate on getting the training they need to get jobs, she said. Thousands of construction jobs for creating and renovating public housing will be lost. The lack of stable housing makes obtaining good health care for yourself and your family almost impossible.

Gordon Cavanaugh, general counsel for the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, warned that as a result of the cuts, people who depend on public housing will have even more deplorable living conditions and more public housing units will become too dilapidated to be occupied. Currently, 100,000 of the 1.4 million public housing units are empty.

“Many public housing tenants will suffer poor living conditions longer and the lamentable vacant units in public housing will remain vacant,” Cavanaugh, who is a lobbies Congress for the council, said. “It has to be seen as an awful blow to Secretary Cisneros’ strong efforts to make conditions better for people in public housing.”

Cavanaugh said his sources in Congress confirm the same cuts to public housing programs as specified by the Administration official.