The Trump administration’s latest attack on housing assistance would boost rents by an average 26 percent for millions of financially vulnerable Americans and increase the risk of homelessness, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis found.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson claimed the “Make Affordable Housing Work Act,” which he announced on April 25, would create a path towards self-sufficiency for low-income Americans receiving housing assistance.
Under the plan, which still needs Congressional approval, people receiving housing assistance would see the percentage of their total income they are required to pay towards housing increase from 30 to 35 percent. It would also raise the minimum monthly rent on the 712,000 most financially vulnerable families from $50 to $150 per month, eliminate deductions for medical care and child care, and allow housing authorities to impose work requirements.
However, according to the Associated Press, the analysis shows the rent increase would put low-income residents in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, even those with jobs, at risk of homelessness. Wages in those areas have not grown at the rate of housing expenses, meaning the nearly 20 percent increase they would pay for rent under the plan is six times higher than the growth in hourly earnings, according to the AP.
The analysis found 8.3 million people would be affected by the proposal. This includes about 4 million low-income households receiving HUD assistance and more than 3 million children. And while the plan would raise rents in the name of self-sufficiency, Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst at the policy center, told the AP there is no evidence that raising rents would cause people to work more.
The plan is in-line with a Republican-led plan to impose work requirements on people receiving food stamps — an initiative that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, could force as many as 1 million impoverished Americans off the program over the next 10 years.
It is also the Trump administration’s latest attack on housing assistance. Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal for next year would set-aside $2 billion less in Section 8 vouchers than the amount needed to maintain the same level of people currently receiving housing subsides according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The proposal would kick 200,000 out of the Section 8 system.