Millions of dollars could disappear from Northeast Ohio.
The Trump administration released its 2018 budget proposal Thursday. It includes a 13 percent reduction in funding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Among the $6 billion in cuts to that department is the Community Development Block Grant.
For decades Cleveland, Parma, Euclid, Lakewood, East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights have relied on the grant for urban development programs.
A screeching halt?
At the Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights, various programs and trainings are held to help low income and disadvantaged residents. The center can host these programs almost entirely because of the funding it receives from the Community Development Block Grant.
The grant has been funded by HUD for 43 years in Cleveland Heights to help the city maintain its housing stock and empower low income, the elderly and disabled.
“We’re on an uptick, an upswing in regards to housing and development and we want to keep that going,” said Keesha Allen, the Executive Director of the Home Repair Resource Center.
But it could all come to a screeching halt. The block grant is on the federal budget chopping block and a 13% cut in HUD funding would eliminate the grant and the $30 million dollars that came with it in Northeast Ohio.
“The benefits are clear to the people who receive them, I think they’re clear to our local representatives and our senators, I don’t know how clear it is to Washington DC overall,” said Nancy McLaughlin a Cleveland Heights Development Officer.
Fighting the blight fight
In Cleveland Heights, officials are scrambling to figure out where they’ll find urban development funding if the grant is gone. The city’s received millions over decades to fight blight and maintain a vibrant housing stock for businesses and residents.
“It will be difficult to continue many of these programs if the cut really happens,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin says she’s seen the benefits of the grant. She has a message for President Trump:
“I would like him to come out and see some of the work that’s been done, to see the kids that are getting prepared for kindergarten, to see the creative writing that comes out of one of our programs, to see the work that’s been done on some of the houses that we’re able to fix up,” she said.
The budget proposal has not yet been approved by Congress. Local representatives, Marcia Fudge (D-OH 11th District) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9th District) are both opposed to de-funding the block grant.