The House Committee on Financial Services will vote on two bills related to affordable housing on May 22. The committee will consider the “Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018” (HR 5793), introduced by Representatives Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Emmanuel Cleaver (R-MO), and the “Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Demonstration Program (THRIVE) Act” (HR 5735), introduced by Representative Andy Barr (R-KY).
NLIHC supports HR 5793, which, if enacted, would further improve voucher mobility to help more households using housing vouchers move to communities of their choice, including those with access to jobs with decent pay, good schools, transportation, and healthcare. Through this three-year demonstration, HUD and public housing agencies (PHAs) would be able to develop new models for improving voucher mobility and provide counseling to help HUD-assisted families move to areas of opportunity. Under the bill, PHAs could use demonstration funds to improve collaboration between agencies and align policies and administrative systems. The proposal also includes an important research component to study what strategies prove most cost-effective at increasing the share of voucher holders with children living in higher-opportunity areas.
The THRIVE Act would dedicate resources for residential substance-use treatment programs that help people recover from opioid addiction or another substance abuse disorder. Despite the bill’s worthy goal, NLIHC has several concerns with the proposal. HUD is not well-positioned to administer and monitor the proposed demonstration. The bill proposes to allocate vouchers to agencies that provide drug treatment and job skills training, rather than to public housing agencies. While the bill would also require additional resources for technical assistance and oversight, allocating vouchers to such agencies would be inefficient and prone to errors and would exacerbate HUD’s current challenges monitoring too many small agencies. Instead of creating a new program, existing efforts to help people with addiction should be expanded.
The committee will debate and vote on these bills at 10:00 am ET in Rayburn House Office Building, room 2128.
For more information about the bills, see: https://bit.ly/2wRFlb9