New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined 11 other mayors from across the nation to send a letter Thursday, speaking out against the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts to public housing.
The Housing and Urban Development department (HUD) stands to lose over $6 billion in total (about a 15 percent loss) based on the proposed budget released in May, for the fiscal year 2018, which begins October 1.
The letter from the 12 mayors was sent to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, with a claim that the cuts could lead to increasing health problems for public housing residents, due to a crumbling infrastructure.
A $1.3 billion cut (about 67 percent) has been proposed for the public housing capital fund, which is used for repairs and maintenance of 1.2 million public housing units across the country.
The letter claimed that aging properties are the cause of “elevated blood-lead levels, asthma and respiratory illnesses” among the poor people who live there, and that an average of 10,000 units are already closed for repairs each year.
The letter stated, “We are on the precipice of a public health crisis in public housing, however, this is a preventable crisis.”
New York City’s public housing is the largest HUD dependent – with more than 176,000 units – and stands to lose $210 million from its capital fund for repairs. A New York official said, “We would not be able to be doing our planned work of replacing heating systems that are outdated, of replacing roofs that are more than 50 years old, that are leaking and can be a source of mold.”
The proposed budget is transferring more responsibility toward states and local governments, but the mayors alleged they could be forced to close some public housing units as a result.
The letter was signed by de Blasio, along with the mayors of New York; Flint, Mich.; Minneapolis; Albany, N.Y.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Newark, N.J.; Portland, Maine; Providence, R.I.; and Vancouver, Wash.
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