WASHINGTON - The $38.5 billion fiscal 2009 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development that President Bush unveiled yesterday would cut funding for the Community Development Block Grant program by 30%, boost funding for Section 8 tenant-based housing vouchers by $336 million, and eliminate the HOPE VI program, which demolishes severely distressed public housing units.

Barbara Thompson, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, said that said she appreciated the proposed increases to thee programs, under which grants can be used to leverage tax-exempt bonds. However, she said more needs to be done, especially considering the housing crisis currently facing the country.

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