The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation and Housing and Urban Development held an FY19 budget hearing on April 17 for the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH). PIH Acting Assistant Secretary Dominique Blom answered questions regarding the president’s budget, as well as anticipated HUD proposals to raise rents and impose work requirements on low income households. Ms. Blom indicated that HUD would release proposals in the next few weeks for legislation that would increase rents and allow housing authorities to impose work requirements. While she did not provide specifics on the bill, the proposal will likely be similar to a draft leaked this past February.
The draft bill increases rents on the lowest income households – including older adults and people with disabilities – eliminates income deductions for medical or childcare expenses, and provides broad discretion to housing providers to impose administratively burdensome and harmful work requirements. Ms. Blom said that budget constraints have prompted HUD to increase rents and work requirements that would help achieve the Trump administration’s purported goal to make families more economically self-sufficient. Research shows, however, that work requirements are ineffective since they do not create jobs with decent pay or other opportunities needed to lift people out of poverty. Combining work requirements with rent increases will only create more instability for families already struggling to make ends meet. Several members of the committee expressed concerns about the proposals, including Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ranking Member David Price (D-NC).
Ms. Blom also defended the president’s proposed HUD budget, noting that increases in defense and security funding reduced resources available for other agencies. With a reduced allocation to HUD, Secretary Ben Carson proposes prioritizing housing for people with disabilities and seniors, as with efforts to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in HUD-subsidized housing. The majority of representatives spoke about the importance of HUD programs in their districts. Chair Diaz-Balart noted that the president’s budget seems particularly austere following the passage of the FY18 omnibus spending bill that increased HUD funding by almost 10% (see Memo 3/26).
Learn more about the hearing at: https://bit.ly/2GQuzT6
Read more about HUD’s plans to increase rents and impose work requirements and the impact the changes would have in a Point of View by Diane Yentel, NLIHC President and CEO: https://bit.ly/2qTtUcR