Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), a cofounder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, introduced a bill that would consolidate nearly all federal affordable housing programs into state block grants and dramatically reduce their funding over the next ten years. The “Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act” (H.R. 5360) would prohibit Congress from funding means-tested housing programs beginning in 2017.
H.R. 2832 would consolidate the following programs:
- Housing Choice Voucher program,
- Public Housing,
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program,
- HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME),
- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants,
- Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program,
- Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program,
- Native American Housing Block Grant program,
- Section 101 Rent Supplement Program,
- Section 236 Rental Assistance Payments program,
- Rural Housing Insurance Fund, and
- Rural Housing Service assistance programs.
Instead of funding these programs individually, Congress would appropriate funds for block grants to states in an amount that “bears the same relationship” to the amount that a state received for means-tested housing programs for the most recent fiscal year. Each year over the next ten years, Congress would reduce funding for housing block grants until the spending is cut in half by 2028.
States would have to match 20% of their federal grants with non-federal funds. States would “have full flexibility to use the amounts of grants to finance a housing provider, service, or program,” and would be allowed to establish a portable voucher system that allows parents with low incomes to use a portion of their voucher’s value to attend a private prekindergarten education program.
States would have to conduct a “comprehensive self-assessment of the effectiveness and progress” of covered housing programs. The U.S. Comptroller General would also have to conduct a study and report its findings to Congress on different approaches and best practices used by states in carrying out their affordable housing programs in accordance with the bill.
The bill would also impose new work requirements on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (food stamps) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
The bill currently has four cosponsors – Representatives Dave Brat (R-VA), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Mark Meadows (R-NC), and Michael Burgess (R-TX) - and was referred to the House Committees on Ways and Means, Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, and Budget.
Learn more about the bill at: http://bit.ly/2s911Ly.