Broad Housing Assistance Reform Bill Introduced

House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Chair Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) introduced broad housing assistance reform legislation on October 7. The bill, H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015,” includes several provisions from the previously introduced, but never-passed “Section Eight Voucher Reform Act” (SEVRA) and “Affordable Housing and Self-Sufficiency Improvement Act” (AHSSIA). H.R. 3700 also brings together other recent housing bills and policy proposals that have been considered by the House or emerged in policy discussions.

Similar to provisions in the 2012 House Committee on Financial Service’s version of AHSSIA, which was never voted out of the Committee, H.R. 3700 includes policy changes regarding:

  • inspections,
  • income recertification policies for all households,
  • three-year income recertifications for fixed income households,
  • calculation of initial income,
  • medical, dependent, and child care deductions,
  • increased payment standards for reasonable accommodations,
  • project-based vouchers,
  • Fair Market Rents, and
  • flexibility between public housing operating and capital funds.

The policy change regarding recertifications for fixed-income households mirrors one included in Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) bill, H.R. 233, which was introduced as a stand-alone bill in January 2015. The bill would allow for three-year income recertifications for fixed income households. H.R. 233 passed the House on March 23 and was referred to the Senate, where it has yet to be considered.

Representative Luetkemeyer’s bill also includes four single-issue policy bills that were not part of AHSSIA/SEVRA but were passed in the House with minimal opposition on July 14 (see Memo, 7/20). Three of these bills, the “Homes for Heroes Act of 2015” sponsored by Representative Al Green (D-TX), the “Housing Assistance Efficiency Act” sponsored by Representative Scott Peters (D-CA), and the “Preservation Enhancement and Savings Opportunity Act of 2015” sponsored by Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN), have yet to be considered in the Senate. The policies sought by the fourth bill, the “Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015” sponsored by Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL), were requested by HUD in its FY16 budget and were included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY16 HUD funding bill.

H.R. 3700 includes new policy proposals to:

  • limit tenancy by public housing residents with incomes above 120% of area median,
  • allow public housing agencies to create replacement reserves (a policy change HUD requested in its FY16 budget),
  • extend the Family Unification Program to younger youth,
  • create policies for inspections of units owned by public housing agencies,
  • make changes to utility reimbursements, and
  • create a rural multifamily housing revitalization program.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. While the H.R. 3700 was introduced with Mr. Luetkemeyer as the sole sponsor, the bill could gain bipartisan support as it moves forward. NLIHC will provide further analysis in the next issue of Memo to Members.

To read the bill go to: