Representative Diane Black (R-TN) introduced legislation that would eliminate HUD’s authority to provide assistance under the Tenant Resource Network grant program (TRN). Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) co-sponsored the bill, H.R. 6298. TRN is the successor to the Outreach and Training Assistance Grants (OTAG), which HUD stopped funding in 2002.
In June 2012, HUD provided TRN grants to 15 nonprofits to educate residents of project-based Section 8 housing about their rights and responsibilities, and their options when owners opt out of renewing their Section 8 contracts, prepay their mortgages or fail to meet HUD’s housing quality standards (see Memo, 6/15).
After HUD terminated the OTAG program in 2002, advocates fought hard to resurrect this important tool. Indeed, Representative Paul himself wrote to then-HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in September 2006, urging HUD to implement the OTAG program and its associated funds. “I am writing to request that the Department of Housing and Urban Development implement the Outreach and Training Assistance Program and utilize the technical assistance funds Congress authorized for this program. These actions will greatly help the residents of Section 8 housing whose Section 8 subsidy contracts are expiring,” Mr. Paul wrote.
The TRN program was identified in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) “YouCut” initiative, which identifies “wasteful” federal spending and asks the public to vote on which YouCut programs they want to cut. Eliminating the TRN program would result in potential 10-year savings of $100 million, according to the YouCut website. “To save the American Dream for current and future generations, we must be constantly finding ways – both large and small – to cut government spending and balance the budget. YouCut is a great way for Tennesseans and Americans across the country to get involved and let their voices be heard on fiscal responsibility,” Ms. Black said in a June 6 press release on her forthcoming introduction of legislation identified by the YouCut intitiative.
The YouCut website is critical of TRN grants because they “advise tenants of properties . . . of their rights.”
“Bottom line: Federal tax dollars should not be used to pressure owners of residential rental properties to remain in federally-subsidized public housing programs,” the YouCut website says of the TRN program.
H.R. 6298 was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
The 2006 letter from Mr. Paul is attached to this page.