New Yorkers staunchly opposed to President Donald Trump’s proposed slashes to aid that keeps millions in their homes took their outrage Wednesday to the nation’s capital.
People from the city and around the country made their way to Washington, D.C., for a tenants march against the proposed budget cuts to federal housing programs.
Hundreds packed the Church of the Reformation, near the Capitol, for a standing-room-only rally before the Tenant March on Washington.
They cheered on speakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan/Queens).
“In New York and everywhere, we take care of our neighbors,” Velazquez said. “And that is a fundamental, moral responsibility, particularly in the most powerful, richest country in the world.”
The president’s budget would cut more than $6 billion from the HUD budget, downsizing key housing subsidies for low-income tenants across the country and cutting other programs altogether.
It would be an acute blow to New York City, whose already-underfunded Housing Authority would lose $150 million in federal funds, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said.
Organizer Renata Pumarol, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, said New Yorkers made up about 600 of the 1,000 people participating in the march.
The proposed cuts would have a “detrimental effect on New York,” she said, with an estimated 25,000 people made homeless.
“This is not an issue that is only a Democratic issue. It affects people all over the country, Democrats and Republicans,” Pumarol said. “We have people out here who are from the rural, white, working-class communities that are Trump’s base.”
She said the cuts would affect everything from NYCHA affairs to services such as 311.
Marchers also demanded a meeting with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who received backlash in May when he posited that poverty is in large part a “state of mind.”
A sign affixed to the podium read, “#NoCuts Stop Selling Our Neighborhoods to Wall Street.”
At times, the crowd chanted, “Fight, fight, fight, housing is a human right.”
Marchers included those who would be personally affected by cuts as well as those advocating on their behalf, including retired firefighter Hector Cortes, 63, of Wickfield, the Bronx, and Beverly Creighton, 61, of Highbridge, the Bronx.
“I came for them,” Creighton said of her neighbors. “I don’t want to see my friends on the street.”
De Blasio has made affordable housing a cornerstone of his tenure in office, but has struggled to combat skyrocketing rents across the city, a task that may get harder with federal funding up in the air.
Carson told The Hill last month amid the proposed cuts: “We will use whatever resources we have very efficiently.”
With Alex Bazeley and Lauren Cook