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HUD: Big increase sought for poor neighborhoods

Available details of President Barack Obama’s proposed government spending for the 2010 budget year that begins on Oct. 1. A more extensive budget outline is expected in April. In most cases, the figures are for discretionary spending and do not include mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security. The percentage change is based on what Obama wants to spend next year compared with what he anticipates the government will spend in 2009 once Congress completes appropriations for this year.

Agency: Housing and Urban Development

2010 proposal: $47.5 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 18.5 percent increase

Highlights: Obama proposed spending more to house the poor and invest in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

In past years, President George Bush proposed cuts for some of the Housing and Urban Development Department’s biggest programs, including the Community Development Block Grant. Communities rely on the grants to help lure businesses and to improve neighborhoods.

Obama takes a different approach. He would increase spending from $3.9 billion to $4.5 billion and change the funding formula to give distressed neighborhoods more money.

One of the largest spending increases was recommended for the HOPE for Homeowners program — from $225 million to nearly $1.4 billion next year. The program helps eligible families refinance their mortgages into new 30-year or 40-year loans with lower payments.

Obama would create some new programs within HUD as well. He would provide $1 billion to start a trust fund that will be used to rehabilitate housing for the poorest families. The money would be spent over the next six years. He would also dedicate an unspecified amount to renovate older homes to make them more energy efficient.

The administration would also increase spending on vouchers to subsidize rent for more than 2 million families.

The president recommending eliminating two of the smallest programs within HUD, saving about $16 million.