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Austin’s federal housing funds to continue for now

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Although staff members in the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department have worried about their budget since President Donald Trump announced his proposal to eliminate numerous federal programs, they were able to breathe a sigh of relief after learning late last week that funding for such stalwarts as the Community Development Block Grant Program would continue through Fiscal Year 2017-18. In a press release issued on Monday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development noted that Austin would receive almost $7.2 million in block grant funding as well as more than $2.5 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. Through the use of these grants, the department is able to provide housing assistance to low-income residents and the homeless, as well as services for special needs populations, including people with HIV/AIDS. These amounts represent roughly the same amount that the city is receiving this year. Those two programs currently pay for the salaries of 33 employees in the department. Federal funding will also continue for services in the Department of Health and Human Services. In his budget announcement, Trump proposed to eliminate more than $4 billion for HUD and $4.8 billion for health and human services. It remains to be seen what kind of budget Congress will adopt in September, which will impact the city’s FY 2018-19 budget.

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