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Trump targets public housing

Council member Ritchie Torres denounced Donald J. Trump’s budget cuts to the Dept. of Urban Development, which would reduce Section 8 vouchers. Torres was joined by Congress member Jerrold Nadler (left).

President Donald J. Trump’s proposed budget trims more than $6 billion from the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s budget.

Fifty-six percent of the New York City Housing Authority’s revenue comes from HUD. NYCHA provides housing for 440,000 residents across the five boroughs. If the cuts go through, residents of NYCHA’s 238 developments could see their rents increased, and they will likely have to wait even longer for repairs to their leaky ceilings and broken elevators.

Furthermore, Section 8 vouchers, which provide rental assistance to seniors and veterans, would also be reduced under Trump’s proposed budget.

Housing activists, elected officials and union leaders denounced the administration’s proposed budget cuts to the federal agency at a rally on the steps of City Hall on March 13.

“I was raised in public housing, so I owe my life to NYCHA,” said Council member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Public Housing Committee.

Torres, who represents the 15th Council District in the Bronx, was joined by 200 activists at the rally.

The proposed $6 billion in cuts to HUD would terminate the Community Development Block Grant program. These grants provide funds for such programs as Meals on Wheels and are used to clean up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods. Under the Trump cuts, HUD’s budget would shrink by 14 percent to $40.5 billion in fiscal year 2018, down from $46.9 billion in fiscal year 2017.

“We need a budget that respects the values that make this nation great,” said Congress member Nydia Velasquez at the press conference.

Public Advocate Letitia James also denounced the budget cuts: “The majority of the residents of public housing are seniors, children and the working poor. Public housing is their safety net.”

Manhattan Congress member Jerrold Nadler said the cuts send a message that “residents of public housing are second-class citizens.”

Under Trump’s budget proposal, direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 assistance and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be reduced by at least $300 million.

In addition, the housing program for seniors — known as Section 202 — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. And Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, a reduction of almost 20 percent.

DC 37 is part of a coalition called #NoCut, which will hold a rally at noon on Thursday, April 20, in Foley Square, 111 Worth St., in Manhattan.