2.24.2005

And Bush Sayeth to the Poor, the Sick, the Crippled, "Tough Titty."

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{topic via Cookie Jill at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo:}

NYT: "With little fanfare, the Bush administration is proposing to stop financing the construction of new housing for the mentally ill and physically handicapped as part of a 50 percent cut in its housing budget for people with disabilities."
[...]
"Until now, Section 811 has provided equal amounts each year, roughly, for financing for new construction, and rent subsidies for disabled tenants. But under the 2006 budget proposal, the capital allocation would be eliminated and the overall budget would shrink by half, to $120 million from $238 million."
[...]
"This time, the federal government would discontinue financing housing for people with spinal cord injuries or psychiatric illnesses who are not necessarily homeless but may live in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.

By relying exclusively on vouchers, the federal government would essentially be lumping these people with able-bodied Section 8 recipients in competing for some of the same apartments."

Yes they will. They'll be lumping them in. But they'll be lumping them into fewer and fewer homes because Bush is proposing cutting funding for the entire section eight program while consistently holding off on the federal allocation to cities responsible for local housing issues.

The Republican: "Hundreds of portable subsidies - known as Section 8 vouchers - were cut from the region's allotment during the current fiscal year because President Bush "so low-balled the request" for funding the program"

The Tidings: "On Feb. 17, for the first time in history, the Housing Authority of Los Angeles suspended 1,500 housing vouchers, citing lack of funds. The move affects people who had received vouchers through the program but who have not yet signed rental contracts. Although this cut does not affect participants already in Section 8 housing, continuing funding problems could leave another 3,600 of these tenants in jeopardy of losing their homes or coming up with the full rental fee.

As a result, within the last few weeks the number of people coming to St. Brigid's food program for boxes of groceries has doubled, noted Father Ume."

Mother Jones: "The Bush administration aims in its 2005 budget to cut by $1 billion the $18 billion fund that helps about 2 million Americans--generally the poor, elderly, and disabled--pay their rent. Specifically, it wants to rein in the growing costs of Section 8, the housing voucher program that chips in around two-thirds of the rent of low-income people, and which conservatives have traditionally favored on the grounds that it steers people toward private landlords instead of forcing them into public housing."

Builder Online: "Recent cuts in the federal budget have local officials predicting that fewer families will be served under the Section 8 subsidized housing program.

A representative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees housing authorities, told local authorities recently that the federal government had changed the formula it uses to reimburse local agencies for the program.

Instead of reimbursing them for actual amounts paid for Section 8 leases, the new formula relies on reimbursements based on the average monthly rent over a three-month period last spring.

Housing officials criticize the formula, which fails to account for the fact that rents have continued to rise."

To sum it all up - Bush is slashing funding for public assistance for housing. This is one compassionate guy. He's going to compassion poor and disabled people right out onto the streets where they can then be compassionately starving to death or getting arrested. The HUD site proclaims that funding is up for Section 8, but then area programs are not receiving the money. Like No Child Left Behind, the Bush administration is proclaiming a commitment to the neediest among us while systematically eliminating real assistance.