NLIHC’s Yentel Calls Proposal by Secretary Carson “Assault on Entire Social Safety Net”
As we reported earlier this year, HUD Secretary Carson announced the Trump Administration’s proposal to “triple rents on the poorest tenants in federally subsidized housing as part of a push to redefine housing assistance as a temporary benefit.”
On April 25, 2018, The New York Times reported “The Trump administration has proposed legislation that could triple rents on the poorest tenants in federally subsidized housing as part of a push to redefine housing assistance as a temporary benefit instead of the permanent source of shelter it has become for millions of poor people.”
Public housing tenants would also face work requirements.
This proposal continues to receive news coverage and is understandably, receiving sharp criticism from affordable housing advocates, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“Advocates for poor people say that the rent increases, which seem small to those living above the poverty line, will create great hardships for families struggling to get by in areas where jobs are scarce and barriers to higher income are steep.”
“It is part of a larger assault on the entire social safety net — proposing to take away limited benefits for health care, food and housing from struggling families just months after giving massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires is the height of cruel hypocrisy,” said Diane Yentel, the president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that “The new rules would hit the poorest residents hardest, with minimum monthly rents in public housing developments and for recipients of Section 8 vouchers rising to $150 a month from $50.”
Housing is considered affordable when households pay no more than 30% of their income towards their rent.
But these proposed rent increases would raise that percentage from 30% to 35% of households’ income. Increasing rents for very low-income households would lead to increased homelessness across the United States.
And the proposal discounts the fact that many low-income households have at least one adult who is already working very hard to make ends meet.
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Carson has spoken in support of the proposal that could affect many of the more than 4.5 million American families who receive HUD assistance.
“Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households,” Mr. Carson told reporters Wednesday in a conference call. “It’s clear from a budget perspective and a human point of view that the current system is unsustainable.”
But the proposal needs Senate proposal where it would not have enough support, including support of moderate Republicans, to pass.
“The proposed cuts would also appear to run counter to Mr. Carson’s behind-the-scenes efforts to prevent the sweeping reductions proposed in Mr. Trump’s first budget. Mr. Carson told friends this year that he would quit if the president did not restore proposed cuts to programs aiding the disabled and the elderly proposed by Mr. Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget and the most powerful advocate for small government inside Mr. Trump’s governing circle.”
The Trump administration has been extremely critical of programs that assist all low-income households and has categorized housing assistance as “welfare” which is historically is a term used for direct cash assistance to low-income households.