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Reagan Reported Ready to Propose Deep Cuts in Public Housing Aid

January 30, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Eight housing and urban aid programs will be eliminated and money for operating and repairing public housing will be slashed in President Reagan’s fiscal 1986 budget, The Washington Post reported in today’s editions.

Among the programs Reagan will propose dropping is one that finances construction of housing for the elderly and the handicapped, according to documents quoted by The Post.

White House spokesman Anson Franklin declined to comment on the report, saying no budget has yet been proposed.

Other programs that would receive no funding in the president’s budget include urban development action grants used by cities to obtain private investment for downtown projects, housing development grants to subsidize mostly middle-income apartments, rental rehabilitation grants and a small housing program for Indians, the newspaper said.

In addition, new construction of public housing would be ended and two programs that provide $240 million in low-interest loans to homeowners and cities would be dropped.

A program providing 100,000 vouchers to help the poor pay their rent would be slashed to 3,500.

Reagan also will propose cutting federal subsidies for public housing authorities by $240 million to $1 billion, a reduction that would be accomplished partly by limiting funds for up to 40,000 vacant apartments and restricting hiring.

The Post quoted an unidentified Office of Management and Budget spokesman as saying, ″The major rationale ... is that we have a $200 billion deficit.″

Barry Zigas, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, called the reductions ″complete abandonment of a 50-year bipartisan commitment to low-income housing.

″At a time of rising homelessness in all parts of the country, it would be unconscionable for Congress to approve a budget like this,″ he said.

The cutback in public housing subsidies would be ″drastic″ because public housing officials are prohibited from raising rents, said Gordon Cavanaugh, attorney for the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities.

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