In response to the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut 15%, more than $7 billion from the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HousingWorks Austin joined a coalition of Austin housing advocates outside City Hall for a rally on Saturday, July 22. The groups are concerned about how the cuts would hurt low-income families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and others who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, or who are homeless. The event kicked off the Austin Homes, Austin Voices Week of Action, which included teach-ins, letter writing and other activities to get citizens engaged.
The proposed cuts would reduce federal funding to Austin by more than $18 million in Fiscal Year 2018 and would eliminate programs like Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships which are instrumental in helping Austin nonprofits leverage other funding to create affordable housing. Many social services programs would also be impacted.
The Austin rally was part of a national week of action, “Our Homes, Our Voices,” organized by National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). Speakers at the Austin rally included CityCouncil Member Jimmy Flannigan, Stephanie Thomas of ADAPT, Robin Wilkins of Austin Tenants’ Council, Robert Hewett, a veteran and
Foundation Communities resident and Jacqueline Perez, an Austin Habitat for Humanity homeowner. A statement from Congressman Lloyd Doggett was also read which said, “There is not an education or social services initiative in Central Texas that will go undamaged if this appalling budget is implemented. All of these cuts to provide a few at the top with another tax windfall, while still digging us deeper into debt. Republicans are building an economic ladder with all the rungs at the top.”
The rally ended with a wall raising, which symbolizes progress and cooperation.
Click on the image below to watch video of the entire kickoff rally.