NLIHC and Other National Organizations Urge Congressional Appropriators to Strengthen Housing Choice Voucher Program

NLIHC and 53 other organizations sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate appropriations leaders on June 15 urging them to include in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations bill funding and policy provisions that support and strengthen the effectiveness of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The letter was signed by a broad cross-section of stakeholders committed to enabling low-income families to live in affordable, accessible, and decent quality housing in well-resourced neighborhoods of their choosing.

Rigorous research shows that vouchers are highly effective at reducing homelessness and other hardships. Likewise, the HCV program has a documented history of using virtually all the funds provided to it by Congress to assist people struggling to afford rent. After dipping during 2021 in response to an extremely challenging rental market, the budget utilization rate in the main voucher program has again reached nearly 100%. More vouchers are in use overall today than at any time in the program’s history. Even so, many unmet needs remain. To ensure state and local housing agencies can continue to extend the voucher program’s proven benefits to more people in need, the letter urges appropriators to fully fund the renewal of existing vouchers and support President Biden’s request for additional funding to expand vouchers to an additional 200,000 households.

The letter explains that while utilization data and research show that vouchers are highly effective in helping families afford housing and that additional resources are needed, some families that receive vouchers are only able to access housing in a limited range of neighborhoods, and others struggle to find any housing at all. For these reasons, the letter recommends that Congress take action to make vouchers easier to use and to broaden the choices available to voucher holders. The letter urges Congress to include robust funding ($445 million) for mobility services to expand housing choice for families with vouchers, provide full funding for voucher administrative fees to help public housing agencies effectively and efficiently administer the program, and authorize the use of voucher housing assistance payments funds for security deposits and holding fees. Finally, the letter urges Congress to extend the deadline for reissuing Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) for at least a year – until September 30, 2024 – and preferably for two years or longer. Extending the EHV deadline would strengthen the ability of communities to provide effective assistance to people experiencing homelessness.

Read the letter at: