How the President’s Budget Impacts Healthy Housing
by Darcy Scott and Sarah Goodwin
The National Center for Healthy Housing is saddened to see the priorities being presented by the president’s FY19 Federal Budget Request. We know that Congress can do better.
We believe most Americans care about health and that our budget should reflect that, but some of the core federal agency programs that work to keep us all healthier will be underfunded or canceled under the president’s latest proposal. Below are just the programs that NCHH tracks and reports on to advocates and policy makers regularly; many more are also on the chopping block in the president’s budget.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes: The president’s budget is $145 million; our request is $230 million. The $145 million is the same as the 2017 request and lower than the Senate’s FY18 number of $160 million. As our understanding of the impact of exposure and the cost-effectiveness of investing in eliminating lead hazards grows, certainly the funding that works to thwart lead exposure and hazards should be keeping pace.
- Within this program, the president’s budget removes $5 million from the healthy homes account—from $30 million to $25 million—and redistributes those funds to the lead account.
- CDBG and HOME: The president’s budget zeroes out these programs, which provide vital services to low-income and underserved populations across the country. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program alone feeds into myriad programs across the states that effect the health and well-being of Americans of all ages.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Eliminates Indoor Air and Radon Programs. We request level funding for these programs.
- Eliminates Lead and Radon Categorical Grants. We request level funding for these programs.
- Radon Categorical Grant: previously funded at $8.051 million.
- Lead Categorical Grant: previously funded at $14.049 million.
- Eliminates the Lead Risk Reduction Program, which was previously funded at $13.275 million; we request level funding for this program.
- Lead paint certifications will continue, through the Chemical Risk Review and Reduction Program, but this program is also getting a minor cut.
- The budget states that “Other forms of lead exposure are addressed through other targeted programs, such as the State Revolving Funds, to replace lead pipes.” 1
- Decreases the Children and Other Sensitive Populations program, under Information Exchange/Outreach, from $6.548 million to $2.081 million. We request level funding for this program.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Environmental Health
- Decreases the CDC National Asthma Control Program from $29 million (about) to $25 million. We request level funding for this program.
- Decreases the CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking Program from $34 million (about) to $25 million. We request $40 million for this program.
- Of these three programs, this is the only one that saw a corresponding cut in one of the FY18 appropriations bills (House).
- Level funds the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at $17 million. We request $50 million for this program.
- The $35 million in lead funds (official line item is “Flint Response and Lead Poisoning Prevention [PL 114-254]”), which runs out after FY18, is not continued. In addition to the Flint Lead Registry, that money resulted in grants to 14 states and localities last August, many of which hadn’t previously had a CDC lead grant or had lost funding.
Learn more about CDC’s valuable programs and services with NCHH’s new Healthy Homes Agency Fact Sheet. NCHH has also created a fact sheet for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CDC’s parent agency.
Other Impacted Line Items
- CDC’s Injury Prevention and Control decreases from $285.5 million to $266.3 million; within that, unintentional injury decreases from $8.7 million to $6.7 million.
- The Department of Energy’s weatherization activities, including the Weatherization Assistance Program, are eliminated.
- The Department of Health and Human Services‘ (HHS) Low Income Housing Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is also eliminated
A Note on the Impact of the President’s Budget on State Funding
A note about how these changes would directly impact state budgets: NCHH tracks 11 grant/funding programs on our state healthy housing fact sheets. Between the eliminations and cuts at HHS, CDC, HUD, EPA, and DOE, this budget cuts or eliminates at least seven of them (eight if you count the expiring CDC lead money as a cut).
The president and his administration have identified their priorities in this new budget. We’ll do all we can to convince Congress of the necessity and cost-effective return on investment of these reduced or eliminated programs and implore Congress to restore programs to present funding levels or increase funding, as well as continue to work to educate the administration about what these programs do to have impact on the long-term health of the entire country. If you’d like to join us in that effort, please join our distribution list.
1 One wonders how eliminating this program and the state grants supports Administrator Pruitt’s statement to other federal agencies that “All areas of lead exposure – from lead pipes to contaminated soil – need to be pursued and addressed in a comprehensive and consistent approach” (from the invitation to the principal’s meeting).
Darcy Scott, NCHH Senior Policy Advisor, has been engaged in federal advocacy efforts for over 15 years. She has worked with a number of large-scale organizations, such as the ACLU and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to influence legislators through public engagement. Ms. Scott ran the government affairs department at M+R Strategic Services, leveraging the power of organizations and coalitions to influence the legislative process, and her consulting clients include Habitat for Humanity International and United Way Worldwide. Ms. Scott holds an undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University and a graduate degree from Northwestern University.
Sarah Goodwin joined NCHH as a Policy Analyst in June 2017. She previously served NCHH as a policy intern, helping to establish and run the Find It, Fix It, Fund It lead action drive and its work groups. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University.