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Motivations of Proposed Federal Housing Rules Questioned

Reports of a new federal program designed to cut the waiting list for public housing was greeted incredulously from housing advocates this week.
April 21, 2019, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mark Van Scyoc

Tanvi Misra and Kriston Capps report: "On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a new rule that seeks to vet all members of families applying for subsidized or public housing, even those who have declared themselves ineligible in the application. According to the administration, this rule, if promulgated, would help cut down the years-long waitlist for public assistance."

According to Misra and Capps, the policy explicitly attempts to bar immigrants from federal housing programs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Tweeted an explanation for the rule, saying the changes would shorten long waiting lists for housing programs.

HUD is claiming the rule "would eject some 32,000 families from federal housing programs, including public housing, Project Based Rental Assistance, and the Housing Choice Vouchers program (traditionally known as Section 8)," according to the article.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition put out a statement refuting some of the math used by HUD to build support for the rule.

“HUD falsely claims the change is proposed out of concern for long waiting lists, when they know well that it would do nothing to free up new units," says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "The true purpose may be part of this administration’s effort to instill fear in immigrants throughout the country."

As noted by Misra and Capps in the article, HUD's figure of 32,000 households would barely scratch the surface of the wait list for federal housing programs.  "A study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition identified approximately 1.6 million families on waitlists for public housing and more than 2.8 million families on waitlists for the Housing Choice Voucher program (also known as Section 8)."

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Published on Friday, April 19, 2019 in CityLab
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