Inadequate Funding Puts Housing Vouchers At-Risk

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) issued a report, Substantial Funding Boost Needed to Renew Housing Vouchers in 2017, estimating that the cost of renewing current housing vouchers in 2017 is $18.86 billion, which is $1.18 billion higher than in 2016 and $500 million higher than the amount passed by the Senate in its FY17 spending package. CBPP estimates that more than 100,000 current vouchers could go unfunded if FY17 spending remains at FY16 levels and more than 25,000 vouchers could be unfunded under the Senate’s spending plan.

The “Budget Control Act of 2011” required across-the-board spending cuts in most discretionary programs in 2013, including a $938 million reduction for Housing Choice Vouchers. This forced state and local housing agencies to reduce the number of vouchers for low income families by more than 80,000.  Over the last two years, Congress provided sufficient funding for more than 55,000 vouchers to be been added back to the supply. The renewal funding for these additional vouchers in 2017 represents a 2.7% increase from 2016. In addition, tenant income growth has not kept pace with rising rental costs. A voucher typically covers the gap between the recipient’s rent contribution (30% of adjusted income) and the cost of their rent up to a payment standard for a modest rental home. Rising rents and stagnant incomes increase the cost of filling this gap. The authors also note that approximately half of voucher recipients are seniors and people with disabilities, most of whom live on fixed incomes like Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security and SSI was 0.3% for 2017, while rental costs increased by 3.1%.

Substantial Funding Boost Needed to Renew Housing Vouchers in 2017 is available at: