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HUD’s New Rent Increase Proposal Explained

05.03.2018

HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s legislative proposal includes a startling series of amendments aimed at significantly increasing the tenant rent burden.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s legislative proposal, The Making Affordable Housing Work Act of 2018, includes a startling series of amendments aimed at significantly increasing the tenant rent burden under Section 8, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), public housing and other federal rental assistance programs. Here are some important pieces of this new proposal:

  • It would eliminate all tenants’ ability to deduct costs like childcare and medical expenses from their gross income before calculating their rents. This is crucial. Many single parents rely on childcare deductions to allow them to work. Without medical expense deductions, many seniors and disabled people will be making excruciating choices between food, rent and health care.
  • For seniors and the disabled, rents would increase from 30% of adjusted income to 30% of gross income.
  • For all tenants, excluding seniors and the disabled, rents would increase from 30% of adjusted income to 35% of gross income.
  • It would allow Public Housing Agencies (PHA) to enforce work requirement rules as they see fit.

Approximately 20% of supportive housing residences in New York State use Section 8 vouchers to subsidize tenants’ rent. If this proposal becomes law, it could seriously impact the tenants and providers of supportive housing. Further, increasing the 30% standard also has a disproportionate impact on high cost of living areas such as NYC. It would cause significant destabilization of families, seniors and the disabled, pushing them deeper into poverty and increasing homelessness.

It is also important to note that there is no evidence that raising rent has any effect on helping low income people get jobs or otherwise become more independent.

Therefore, we strongly object to this proposed bill, and ask you to join us in the following actions:

  • We ask that your agency sign on to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s letter to House and Senate leadership.  The Network and over 700 groups have already joined so far.
  • Join us on Friday, May 4th, at noon, on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan, where Rep. Nydia Velázquez will host a press event to oppose these callous rent increases. This event dovetails with this week’s National Housing Week of Action, in which your organization may already be involved. 

If you would like to learn more about this proposed legislation, here are a few good articles.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Trump Plan Would Raise Rents on Working Families, Elderly, People With Disabilities

Washington Post: HUD Secretary Ben Carson to propose raising rent for low-income Americans receiving federal housing subsidies

You could also join a webinar organized by the National Low Income Housing Coalition on May 10, at 1:00pm. Here is the link to register.

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