Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to end the current suspension of work requirements for residents of public housing, recipients of Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), and recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance. In addition to ending the suspension of work requirements, which was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the so-called “Let’s Get to Work Act” would expand work requirements to apply to all adults without disabilities under the age of 60 who are not caring for children under six years of age or a family member with a disability.
The introduction of the bill is the first of what is likely be many attempts to slash and reduce access to benefit programs for people with the lowest incomes. Nearly all extremely low-income (ELI) renters work in underpaid, low-wage jobs, are seniors, or are unable to work due to a disability or caregiving responsibilities. In 2020, 76% of ELI renters in the labor force worked more than 20 hours per week but were paid too little to adequately afford the cost of housing.
Work requirements do not help create the decent paying jobs needed to lift people out of poverty. Rather than promoting self-sufficiency, work requirements cut struggling families off from the housing stability and essential services that make it possible to find and maintain work. Increasing economic mobility should start with expanding – not slashing – the housing assistance needed by low-income households. NLIHC will work to oppose the new bill and any similar proposals that would decrease access to housing assistance for families and individuals with the greatest needs.
Learn more about the anticipated legislative threats to affordable housing resources, and opportunities to take action, in NLIHC’s memorandum to Congress, Advancing Housing Justice in the 118th Congress.