On April 24, more than 100 national and state organizations sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies opposing U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposal to impose $50 minimum rents on its lowest income tenants.
In its FY15 budget request, USDA seeks authority from Congress to impose minimum rents on tenants receiving Section 521 rental assistance, a program of the USDA’s Rural Development (RD) arm meant to provide affordable housing to very low income tenants (see Memo, 4/18).
“The undersigned organizations want to express our opposition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FY15 proposal to impose $50 minimum rents on the very poorest households it serves through Rural Development (RD) Section 521 rental assistance program. Today, these RD rental housing residents pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent, the federal standard for affordability. The mandatory minimum rent proposal would affect the 42,000 households whose incomes are so low that they currently pay less than $50 a month in rent. These households have adjusted annual incomes of less than $2,000. For these households, RD housing assistance is often the last barrier between having a home and being homeless,” the letter states.