New Report: Voucher Expansion Would Dramatically Reduce National Poverty Rate

A new report from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University finds that the Biden campaign’s proposal to transform Section 8 into an entitlement program could lead to substantial reductions in the national poverty rate. The proposed Section 8 expansion would reduce the national poverty rate by nearly a quarter, moving 9 million people out of poverty. Such a reduction would exceed the current impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As it stands today, only 23% of voucher-eligible households receive help due to chronic under-funding of the Section 8 program. The Biden campaign’s proposal would ensure all who are eligible for a voucher can receive one. This report once again confirms the powerful anti-poverty potential of expanding the housing voucher program.

The authors report that combining the housing voucher expansion with the LIFT Act and the American Family Act would cut the national poverty rate in half and the child poverty rate by 75%. The LIFT Act, introduced in 2018 by Senator Kamala Harris, builds upon the EITC by increasing credit values and expanding coverage to middle-income households that currently do not qualify for the credit. The American Family Act, introduced in 2019 by Senator Michael Bennet (and co-sponsored by Senator Harris), would dramatically expand the child tax credit (CTC). The authors also find that the combination of these policies would reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence of poverty.

Read the full report here.

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