The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity released a second iteration of its discussion draft on voucher program reforms, the Section Eight Savings Act of 2011 (SESA), on October 6. The Subcommittee will hold it second hearing on SESA on October 13.
The bill would make some changes to the Subcommittee’s first draft, including allowing certain public housing agencies (PHAs) and voucher landlords to increase minimum rents, currently capped at $50 a month, to the greater of $75 or 12% of fair market rent (FMR). The bill would qualify access by PHAs to the this new minimum rent provision and the bill’s inspection protocols, other rent setting and income review simplifications on a PHA’s participation in self sufficiency programming.
A preliminary analysis by NLIHC of the new minimum rent provisions shows that, in more than one third of the nation’s FMR areas, 12% of FMR is greater than $75. For households at 30% of area median income and for average-income voucher and public housing residents, the new proposal would not increase rents. Further analysis by NLIHC will look more closely at the proposal’s impact on increasing cost burdens for the public housing and voucher households with lower incomes.
The program that PHAs would have to run to access the bill’s new minimum rent increases, new inspection protocols, and income review simplifications must be one that incorporates some forms of job training, educational programming, or other supportive service and rental counseling for some or all of the families who reside in the PHA’s assisted public housing or receive voucher assistance.
The new bill includes no changes to the first draft’s project-based voucher provisions or contract renewal funding, both of which NLIHC, in its June testimony at the first hearing on SESA, urged the Subcommittee to expand and improve (see Memo, 6/24).
The new draft would also require a study regarding occupancy of assisted housing by both elderly persons and persons with disabilities. The new draft would also extend a PHA’s flexibility regarding setting local preferences and establishment of lease provisions to its voucher inventory.
The October 13 hearing is expected to focus on the new SESA draft as well as draft legislation also circulated on October 6 that would allow for expansion of the Moving to Work demonstration program.
This legislation, circulated by Representative Gary Miller (R-CA), the Moving to Work Improvement, Expansion, and Permanency Act of 2011, would authorize a permanent Moving to Work (MTW) program at HUD, and would require the Secretary to approve agencies to participate in MTW if they meet requirements set out by the HUD Secretary. The bill includes no limit on the number of PHAs that could participate in MTW. NLIHC has opposed expansion of the current MTW demonstration program because participating PHAs do not have to charge affordable rents to residents, do not have to serve extremely low income people, and do not have to use their resources to house the greatest number of households, among other issues.
Witnesses at the October 13 hearing will be Hope Boldon, The Integral Group LLC; Larry Woods, Housing Authority of Winston-Salem; Kris Warren, Chicago Housing Authority; and Will Fischer, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The hearing will be at 2pm in room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Access the new SESA discussion draft: http://nlihc.org/doc/SESA_Discussion_Draft.pdf
Access the new SESA section-by-section summary: http://nlihc.org/doc/SESA_section-by-section.pdf
Access the draft MTW expansion bill: http://nlihc.org/doc/MTW_Expansion_Bill.pdf
Access the draft MTW bill’s section-by-section summary: http://nlihc.org/doc/MTW_section-by-section.pdf