Monday, October 03, 2011

HUD asks Congress to restore housing counselor funding « HousingWire

HUD asks Congress to restore housing counselor funding « HousingWire
In April, Congress cut all $88 million in HUD nonprofit counseling funds appropriated for 2011 as part of the budget negotiations. Last week, the department tapped $10 million in unspent funds from the year before to be used for the program.

Deborah Holston, acting deputy assistant secretary for single family housing at HUD, told a House subcommittee Wednesday in 2012, counseling agencies will face a gap in funding going forward.

This is one of the cuts that Obama went along with to avoid a government shutdown, during one of those Republican-created hostage crises. There is zero money in the 2012 budget for this as well. It is hard to imagine a stupider or more heartless budget cut. These foreclosures are wrecking any chance of an economic recovery. The federal and state programs to help people facing foreclosure are premised on the availability of counseling. HUD's list of approved counselors includes only the non-profits, because the for-profit counselors include a lot of predators who want to get title to people's homes (among other shady practices). The non-profits depend to a sizable extent on HUD funds. They also get money from the banks, but not enough for them to keep operating. Even the banks want the funding restored. But with the Tea Party Caucus running the House of Representatives, the only way this can happen is if it is "balanced" by taking away money for handicapped children or people with Alzheimer's or otherwise making life miserable for somebody with no political power.

But in the meantime, the federal government will continue to provide vast quantities of taxpayer-subsidized super-cheap water to right-wing Republican, Tea Party-loving, corporate farmers in Arizona and Utah so they can grow crops in a desert. Not to mention the giant HOA-run subdivisions in the Phoenix and Tucson areas that wouldn't even exist except for the water welfare we have been giving them since the Central Arizona Project was built.

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