The Trump administration issued a proposal on April 25 to impose work requirements, rent increases, and other burdens on millions of low income families who receive federal housing assistance through the HUD. The proposal would leave even more low income people—including seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, children, and other vulnerable populations—without stable homes, making it harder for them to climb the economic ladder to achieve financial security and to live with dignity. The administration’s proposal includes draft legislation, authored by Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL), which was discussed in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 25.
Currently, most families receiving federal housing assistance pay 30% of their adjusted income as rent. Under the Trump proposal, most HUD-assisted families, with some exceptions, would instead have to pay 35% of their gross income or 35% of the amount earned by working at least 15 hours a week for four weeks at the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. With this provision, HUD would essentially set a new mandatory minimum rent of $150—three times higher than the current minimum rent that housing providers may apply to families. The bill would also increase rents for households with high medical or child care expenses by eliminating income deductions for those expenses, the impact of which would disproportionately fall on seniors, people with disabilities, and families with young children. The bill provides the HUD secretary with the authority to impose even higher rents through alternative rent structures and de facto time limits. And the proposal allows housing providers to broadly impose work requirements, without any resources to help people gain the skills they need for well-paying jobs.
Housing advocates issued a joint press statement calling on HUD and Congress to keep housing affordable for low income families. The statement read in part:
“The Trump administration’s proposal to cut housing benefits by imposing increased rents and arbitrary work requirements would force low income families to cut back on investments in their future, including education, training, retirement savings, and healthcare. This proposal would not create the jobs and opportunities needed to lift families out of poverty, and in many cases, it would make it harder for struggling families to get ahead by cutting them off from the very housing benefits and services that make it possible for them to find and maintain jobs. Additionally, the proposed rent increases target the very poorest people, including seniors and people with disabilities, who are often living on fixed incomes and are already at significant risk of homelessness.
“Congress should reject any plan to cut housing benefits through increased rents, arbitrary work requirements, de facto time limits, and other burdens on America’s struggling families.”
“Despite claims that these harmful proposals will increase ‘self-sufficiency,’ rent hikes, de facto time limits, and arbitrary work requirements will only leave more people without stable housing, making it harder for them to climb the economic ladder. Proposing these changes under the guise of saving the government money, just months after giving massive tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations, is the height of cruel hypocrisy,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO.
Read the full press statement at: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/10642
Learn more about the Trump proposal to cut housing benefits at: https://bit.ly/2I7Y4U6
Join nearly 700 organizations on a letter opposing these harmful changes at: https://bit.ly/2GhrHh8