USA – President Wages War on Section 8

President Bush’s HUD budget proposal for fiscal year 2005 would eliminate 250,000 Section 8 vouchers immediately and eliminate 600,000 vouchers by 2009. The Bush Administration’s budget recommendation is $1.6 billion below the necessary level to maintain current assistance for low-income tenants; by 2009, the cut would amount to $6 billion and result in the largest in a major program serving low-income people since the Regan administration!!

Additionally, the Administration intends to block grant the voucher program to state and local housing authorities, and remove protections for low-income families. To compensate for decreased funding, housing authorities would be forced to make difficult decisions, such as :

– terminating assistance to existing voucher holders
– raising tenants’ rent contribution above the current 30% of income
– targeting the vouchers towards higher income families, who could contribute more rent and therefore need less assistance.

Furthermore, the Administration is trying to impose Voucher cutbacks this year by forcing local housing authorities to terminate subsidies for existing families in Section 8 housing! A recent HUD rule change threatens the displacement of 60,000 families from the Section 8 voucher program, estimates the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently issued a report, which shows how the cuts affect state and local housing authorities. Alternatively, if housing authorities chose to raise rents, residents could suffer average rent hike of about $850 a year, per voucher family in 2005 and this would rise to about $2,000 per year by 2009.

The Bush Administration’s proposal also eliminates “Enhanced” vouchers after one year — which would displace over 100,000 families nationally. Where landlords have ‘opted-out’ of HUD housing programs or prepaid HUD subsidized mortgages, residents have received “enhanced” vouchers to cover the drastic rent difference as rents rise to market levels. Elimination of the “enhanced” status would mean that residents could be forced to pay hundreds of dollars more each month or leave their homes.

Source: National Alliance of HUD Tenants