Before, during, and after his inaugural speech, President Donald Trump promised to fix “inner cities,” which he’s conflates with the supposedly crime-infested neighborhoods where African Americans and Latinos live. Less than two months into his presidency, he’s very close to breaking that promise.
Under the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) latest budget proposal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — the federal agency tasked with expanding housing access for low-income families — could stand to lose billions of dollars. According to the Washington Post, the proposal calls for $6 billion to be cut from the department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018. And the pool of money for public housing repairs and the Community Development Block Grant Program will be hit especially hard.
In 2010, HUD reported that $21 billion was needed for public housing inspections nationwide, with kitchens, bathrooms, and windows in dire need of repair. The proposed budget would slash the existing funds, which are already insufficient to address the necessary repairs, by approximately 32 percent, or $1.3 billion.
The budget will also gut community development spending altogether, cutting $4 billion from funding that was once geared toward projects like neighborhood clean-ups, creating an exercise trail, and building Boys and Girls Club facilities, according to the Post.
The massive cuts align with Trump’s plan to drastically increase the national defense budget while slashing money for nearly all other domestic programs funded by the government. But they don’t support his repeated promises to revitalize “inner cities.”
For too many years, our inner cities have been left behind. I am going to deliver jobs, safety and protection for those in need.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2016
Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African-Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2016
Just over one-third of African Americans live in cities; but time and time again, Trump has painted all Black people with a broad brush and said they live in poverty-stricken “inner cities” rife with violence. He loves talking about gun violence in Chicago to hit that point home, while ignoring the fact that violent crime has trended downward nationwide for decades and is far less prevalent than it was in the 1990s.
A “tough-on-crime” president, Trump keeps saying he wants to help poor Black people escape their poverty and violent neighborhoods. He picked Ben Carson to lead HUD and advance his “urban renewal” agenda, and even convinced Black comedian and TV host Steve Harvey to publicly talk up his administration’s efforts. But the latest OMB budget would eliminate billions of dollars in assistance for low-income urban neighborhoods.
“These sorts of cuts could . . . increase the number of families and people that are homeless because housing is less affordable,” President Marc Morial of the National Urban League Morial told the Post. “It’s a slap in the face of working Americans, urban communities, to suggest that you should make all these cuts to buy more tankers, aircraft carriers and missile systems.”
On Thursday morning, Secretary Ben Carson told members of his department that the conversation about the budget is ongoing and in line with previous negotiations.