Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Choice for Voucher Holders

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced on May 20 the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” to expand and improve the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The bill would increase funding for and remove programmatic barriers in the HCV program to increase the number of rental units that accept HCVs, also called Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance. NLIHC supports the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” and urges Congress to enact the bill, along with investments to expand rental assistance and strengthen and enforce renter protections, to help ensure that people with the lowest incomes and the most marginalized people have stable, affordable homes. The bill is also endorsed by the National Housing Law Project, the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and other low-income housing advocates.

Landlord participation in the HCV program, which determines the number of available homes and where they are located, is declining, with an average of 10,000 housing providers having left the program each year between 2010 and 2016. The “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” would invest $500 million to increase voucher holders’ housing choices and improve access to high-opportunity areas by offering incentives to landlords, including signing bonuses to landlords, security deposit assistance, and a financial bonus to public housing agencies (PHAs) that retain a dedicated landlord liaison on staff.

In addition to financial incentives, the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” would reduce programmatic barriers in the HCV program to help attract and retain landlords. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand its 2016 rule requiring the use of Small Area Fair Market Rents in certain metro areas to increase the value of rental assistance, reduce inspection delays, and refocus HUD’s evaluation of PHAs to promote an increase in the diversity of neighborhoods where vouchers are used. To help renters on tribal land, the bill would also increase funding to the Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing program.

A growing body of research finds that rental assistance can improve health and education outcomes, increase children’s chances of long-term success, and increase racial equity. “Housing is the foundation to a safe, healthy, and productive life, and by increasing the number of landlords that accept Housing Choice Vouchers, more Americans will have greater choices and opportunities in finding a home to build their foundation upon,” said Senator Coons.

Read the bill text at:

Read the press release introducing the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” at:

Learn more about the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” at: