Toward a New Federal Funding Formula for Housing

Ending one housing subsidy for households making over $100,000 a year could fund housing vouchers for everyone who needs them.
January 6, 2016, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Daniel Hertz argues in favor of extending housing vouchers to all low-income households at the same time as expanding housing support for the middle class. The kicker: this type of expanded federal housing support is plausible, funded by additional revenue gained by ending the mortgage interest rate deduction.

Hertz does the math using data from a report released in September by the Congressional Budget Office that calculated the cost of expanding the Housing Choice Voucher to everyone who qualifies (i.e., anyone with an income below 50 percent of area median income). According to Hertz, the "CBO estimated such a policy would cost about $41 billion a year over the next ten years. A more modest approach, targeted to only the extremely low-income—those making less than 30 percent of their area’s median income—would cost about $29 billion a year."

Comparing those figures to the $68 billion subsidy represented by mortgage interest rate deduction, and Hertz has proposed a new federal funding formula. Hertz backs up his proposal by citing evidence of the value of housing support at the low end of the income spectrum as well as the lack of benefits of housing support at the high end of the spectrum.

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Published on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 in City Observatory
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