HUD chief blasts proposed Pa, cuts to human services

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan was in Philadelphia Friday to talk about housing initiatives.

While in town, Donovan had harsh words for local budget cuts. Donovan called severe cuts to human services in Pennsylvania’s budget “short-sighted.” Proposed cuts will mean a reduction in services for the homeless, among other programs.

“When we target funding correctly,” said Donovan, “when we partner between housing and service funding correctly, not only do we save people’s lives, get them off the streets, we actually save money” by preventing future costs.

For that reason, Donovan said that despite a great many cuts, HUD’s federal budget proposal would raise its support for homeless assistance by 15 percent.

Cities have options, Donovan stressed. They can redirect funding from shelters and Medicaid to campaigns to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place, or to rapid-rehousing, which provides financial aid to keep people in their homes or start them off in new ones.

Donovan’s visit was part of a White House Community Partnership Summit on Housing Policy.

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