Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reintroduced the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” (S. 32) in the U.S. Senate on January 24. The bipartisan bill would expand and improve HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program while also increasing funding for and removing programmatic barriers in the HCV program to increase landlord participation. The bill was first introduced in the Senate in May 2021 (see Memo, 05/24/2021) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) in March 2022 (see Memo, 05/02/2022).
NLIHC supports the “Choice in Affordable Housing Act” and urges Congress to enact the bill, along with investments to expand rental assistance and legislation to strengthen and enforce renter protections, to ensure that people with the lowest incomes and the most marginalized people have stable, affordable homes.
Landlord participation in the HCV program, which determines the number of available homes and where they are located, has declined in recent years, making it more difficult for voucher holders to find housing in the community of their choice. The Choice in Affordable Housing Act would invest $500 million to increase voucher holders’ housing choices 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 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-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
Read a press release about the introduction of the bill at: https://bit.ly/405nNlx