President Trump is at it again! He has called on cities across the nation to deal with homelessness, yet in his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 he is level funding homelessness grants. He is also proposing to slash the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by 15 percent. If we are serious about solving our nation-wide housing crisis, providing for our veterans and seniors, and helping the homeless a top down approach is imperative. This proposed budget does not do any of those things, and that is shameful.
Federal tax dollars need to be allocated to help city’s like Providence address the pressing issues we face like homelessness, protecting our seniors, providing for our veterans, and creating safe infrastructure for our community. In short, these funds are not entitlements or handouts, but they are desperately needed to create a safer and more equitable country.
Since the creation of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program under the auspices of HUD in 1974, Providence has been able to assist some of our most vulnerable community members. We have been able to create safety infrastructure around our schools and support organizations, like Sojourner House, which supports and advocates for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Providence has allocated monies to AIDS Project Rhode Island that serves and advocates for those who are dealing with the myriad of issues that come with an HIV diagnosis – like access to treatment, fair housing, and prevention programs. CDBG Funds have been used to help provide families who have limited incomes make emergency repairs to their homes that they could otherwise not afford. These funds have helped organizations like the Smith Hill CDC take blighted properties and transform them into affordable housing units.
It is unconscionable that the President would propose these cuts without providing a road map of how the federal government is going to assist our most vulnerable residents. I urge Congress to take the lead where the President has failed us. Invest in the future of our country by investing in our most vulnerable residents.
David A. Salvatore
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 14