City of Chicago

In City Council

Resolution

RESOLUTION URGING THE ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO OPPOSE CUTS TO FEDERAL PROGRAMS THAT SERVE CHICAGO’S MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Whereas, In Chicago, 19.6% of the population, or 474,181 Chicagoans, live below the poverty line; and

Whereas, Unemployment in Chicago’s minority communities is rapidly approaching Depression-era levels, with 21% unemployment in the black community and 13.3% unemployment in the Latino community; and

Whereas, The City of Chicago relies on $90.6 million annually through federally-funded and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-administered Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to provide a wide array of social service programs for youth, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, immigrants, and unemployed or underemployed citizens including after-school programs, support for independent living, job training and placement, violence prevention and health services; and

Whereas, This federal block grant funding supports a network of over 375 Chicago social service agencies and nearly 350 city staff positions that are vital to the survival of underprivileged and marginalized populations in Chicago, reducing division and inequality, and contributing profoundly to overall public welfare and social harmony; and

Whereas, More than 88,923 individuals were homeless or dependent on emergency or transitional shelters in Chicago at some point in 2010, a 20% increase from 2009; and

Whereas, In Chicago, more than 82,060 low-income households, with an estimated 185,562 citizens, rely on Section 8 or public housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to maintain their homes; and

Whereas, The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) relies on $269.6 million in Public Housing Operating and Capital Funding annually to maintain and rehabilitate the city’s affordable housing units; and

Whereas, 33% of public housing residents are seniors, 30% are children, and 38% are people with disabilities, and 84% are racial minorities; and

        

Whereas, HUD funding provides all neighborhoods with valuable resources to make their communities safe, diverse, and prosperous; and

Whereas, This funding is a vital and irreplaceable source for Chicago’s housing, community development, and essential services programs; and

Whereas, The U.S. Congress cut HUD’s budget by $2.8 billion in FY2011, resulting in a loss to Chicago of over $28 million in funding for public housing, as well as a loss of $18.4 million in CDBG and HOME funding; and

Whereas, The City of Chicago cannot sustain an overall reduction of $36.7 million in CDBG and HOME funding in the space of two years, nor a cumulative reduction of $73.3 million to Chicago’s public housing budget; and

Whereas, The Budget Control Act mandates that Congress reduce federal budget deficits by at least $2.4 trillion over 10 years; and

Whereas, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will be working between now and November 23, 2011 to develop a set of recommendations to reduce the federal budget deficits; and

Whereas, Some members of Congress have opposed any efforts to raise revenue as part of this deficit reduction plan, which would result in the federal budget being balanced on the backs of those who can least afford it; and

Whereas, The major deficit-reduction packages of 1990, 1993, and 1997 all generally protected programs for low-income Americans, in fact reducing poverty and inequality even as they reduced deficits;

Whereas, At this moment of unprecedented need, a strong and responsive social safety net is crucial to keeping families afloat until recovery reaches all citizens;

Now, Therefore, Be It

Resolved, that the City of Chicago calls upon our Congressional Representatives and the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reduce the deficit in a balanced way that includes significant increases in federal revenue; and be it further

Resolved, that the City of Chicago calls upon our Congressional Delegation to adhere to the principle espoused in the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan to avoid measures that will entrench and expand inequality in the United States; and be it further

Resolved, that the City of Chicago calls upon the Illinois Congressional Delegation to reject any cuts below levels approved by the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees in 2010 for Section 8, Public Housing, CDBG, HOME, homelessness assistance, and other vital HUD programs in the FY2012 appropriations bills, knowing that cuts to HUD’s programs would have a devastating impact on all of Chicago’s neighborhoods and citizens.