Congress Should Add Funding to Prevent 2018 Housing Voucher Cuts
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a new report that found that the Senate and House FY18 funding bills for HUD would result in a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) cut next year of 40,000 and 120,000, respectively.
These voucher cuts would leave many low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children without the housing assistance they need.
According to CBPP, because of rising rents and other factors, $19.72 billion will be needed to fully renew vouchers in 2018- $345 million more than the Senate bill provides, and $1 billion over the House bill amount. The Senate bill would fail to renew 40,000 housing vouchers that families are using in 2017.
Housing vouchers help 5.3 million people in 2.2 million households – most of these households are seniors, people with disabilities, or families with children – afford decent housing in the private market.
“Housing vouchers reduce homelessness and housing insecurity, lift people out of poverty, and improve their quality of life – for instance, by reducing overcrowding and frequent, involuntary moves. They also enable families to move to safer communities with access to quality schools and other opportunities. Rigorous research finds that children in poor families that use housing vouchers to live in safe, low-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to attend college, less likely to become single parents as young adults, and earn more than peers in families that do not.”
There are reasons why the cost of renewing vouchers increase:
- Increased funds are needed to make up the 2017 renewal funding shortfall – CBPP recommends enabling agencies to restore any vouchers lost this year due to shortfalls, as well as to cover the full cost of renewing all vouchers still in use.
- Rental costs are rising at a strong pace – This would increase the 30% of income that voucher households typically contribute towards their rent.
- More families are using housing vouchers due in part to new vouchers being issued in 2016.
The report makes the case that voucher cuts worsen hardships for vulnerable people and make it more difficult for children to succeed. Unfortunately, federal rental assistance has not kept pace with the growing need for vouchers.