HUD Secretary Carson Should Hear that Federal Housing Assistance is Critical in Preventing Eviction and Homelessness
On February 5, 2018, Diane Yentel of the NLIHC wrote a Point of View column, “HUD Plans to Increase Rents to Impose Work Requirements.”
Yentel writes, “Last week, I read an internal HUD draft bill that confirmed what many of us suspected: Secretary Carson is planning, through his FY19 budget request and accompanying legislation, to propose increasing rent burdens for all people in all HUD-subsidized homes. HUD will also propose allowing minimum work requirements of up to 32 hours a week for some subsidized housing residents. As homelessness increases and the housing crisis intensifies in communities across the country, the administration is focusing its efforts on increasing rents and other burdens for the lowest income and most vulnerable households in HUD-subsidized homes, which may further increase homelessness over time.”
Two weeks ago, NJCounts 2018 counted the homeless on January 24, 2018. This count will give us an updated snapshot of homelessness in New Jersey. New Jersey saw an overall decrease of 4.6% from 2016 and 2017.
And while there are a number of factors that may affect the results of NJCounts 2018, it would be very disappointing to see homeless numbers in New Jersey rise over the coming years because of increasing rents and work requirements for families living in HUD funded housing.
NJ Counts 2017 found:
- 8,532 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of the Point-in-Time Count.
- This was an overall decrease of 409 persons, or 4.6%, compared to the 2016 count.
- 1,092 persons, in 992 households, were identified as chronically homeless, an increase of 256 persons, or 30.6%, compared to the 2016 count.
- 1,415 persons were un-sheltered; a decrease of 1.9% from the 1,442 persons counted in 2016.
Housing benefits are designed to help people when they fall on hard times, like when they are unemployed or underemployed, and to care for those with the greatest need for assistance, including seniors, people with disabilities, and children. Without housing assistance, low income people face a greater risk of eviction and homelessness – circumstances that make it even more challenging to maintain a job.”
We have seen firsthand in New Jersey how evictions lead to homelessness.
Yentel concluded with “HUD must reconsider its misguided and cruel proposals to increase rent burdens for millions of the lowest income and most vulnerable seniors, families and people with disabilities. While Secretary Carson may try to portray the proposals as increasing “self-sufficiency,” these proposals are more about punishing low income people than helping them. ”