U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, this week proposed significant changes to the agency’s low-income housing programs, tripling rent for the poorest households, and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements. The changes appear to reflect a comprehensive effort by the Trump administration to restrict access to the safety net and reduce the levels of assistance for those who do qualify.
Public housing authorities, and owners, in the case of project-based assistance, would be authorized to establish minimum work requirements for recipients, excluding people over the age of 65 and the disabled. Under the HUD proposal, some of the nation’s poorest tenants would see their rents triple: every non-elderly, non-disabled household would have to pay a minimum of $150 a month in rent—triple the current minimum amount for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program of $50.
Under Secretary Carson’s initiative, the rent for tenants in subsidized housing would rise to 35% of gross income (or 35% of their earnings working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage), up from the current standard of 30% of adjusted income. About half of the 4.7 million families receiving housing benefits would be affected, according to HUD officials. Sec. Carson stated: “Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households: It’s clear from a budget perspective and a human point of view that the current system is unsustainable.” The proposal would also exempt seniors over the age of 65 and individuals with disabilities from the rental increases for the first six years. HUD officials said that group makes up more than half of the 4.7 million families receiving subsidies.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x121.