National CAPACD Rejects White House’s “Americans Last” Budget

This morning, the White House released the President’s “America First” budget blueprint, which includes deeply troubling cuts for nearly all federal government programs and agencies that invest in and contribute to the health and vibrancy of our communities.  The proposal prioritizes increased military investments over programs that Americans across communities rely on every day.  It suggests cutting all “non- defense” programs by $54 billion, including a $6.2 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  As a membership-driven organization comprised of nearly 100 community-based Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations across the country, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) strongly opposes this budget proposal, which would result in devastating losses for AAPI organizations, communities, and neighborhoods.

“This budget is a clear denunciation of our communities and neighborhoods. It not only attacks federal funding for housing and social service programs, but also the heart of what makes our communities thrive: arts, culture, the environment, and the sense of safety felt by immigrant communities,” says Seema Agnani,  Executive Director of National CAPACD.

The President’s budget makes it clear that affordable housing for our country and support for its diverse communities are not priorities of this Administration.  Proposed cuts would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a critical source of funding to support much-needed community and economic development activities.  According to Bao Vang, CEO of Hmong American Partnership, “CDBG programs help our families purchase homes, make our streets safer, and provide affordable rental housing for those most in need. In particular, this proposed budget would hurt the refugee and immigrants that my organization works with every day to help provide them a new start in this country.”

Other HUD programs critical to AAPI communities that would be eliminated or reduced include: Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, as well as major reductions in funding for rental assistance programs. The budget cuts to these vital programs that the Administration proposes undermines the housing market recovery in communities where affordable housing, economic opportunity, public services and community development are undersupplied.  Moreover, these budget cuts could put nearly 8 million Americans in both urban and suburban communities at risk of losing their public housing and nearly 4 million at risk of losing their rental subsidy. 
 
For housing advocacy groups such as Chhaya CDC in Jackson Heights, NY, this is “a clear attack on low-income, immigrant neighborhoods throughout our country” because they ultimately will bear the brunt when programs like their housing counseling,  tenant counseling, and first time homebuyer programs will no longer have the financial support of the government. According to Annetta Seecharran, Executive Director of Chhaya CDC, “These cuts are designed to curtail access and opportunities for low income and immigrant communities to achieve housing stability, which negatively impacts the very social fabric of our society.”

The proposed budget also proposes to eliminate funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which serve low-income communities of color and provide capital investments and financial services often unavailable to them. According to Rachelle Arizmendi, from Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), “CDFIs help small minority-owned businesses to not only grow, but also to create jobs to stimulate the local economy. Loss of this funding will discourage new business from starting and inhibit growth among existing businesses.”

Beyond the devastating cuts to programs and services that are critical to our communities, this budget reinforces this Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda by increasing immigration enforcement funding, mandating E-Verify, and increasing border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel. These budget priorities send a clear message to immigrants and people of color across the country: we are not included in this Administration’s vision for America and our voices will not be heard.  Instead of putting the needs of a diverse America first, the President’s budget puts “Americans Last.”

National CAPACD will not stand by this appalling budget proposal nor allow its impact to fall on the backs of our communities.  The President's budget does not reflect the values that we stand for or the needs of #OurNeighborhoods.  We will continue to fight for a budget that serves immigrants, communities of color, and low-income families.