Who Cares About Affordable Housing?

Clearly not Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, who on Wednesday announced plans that would triple the cost of rent for Americans who receive housing assistance.

The proposed legislation would also implement a work requirement that is in line with the current administration’s efforts to have such requirements for an increasing number of federal assistance programs.

As we’ve discussed before, the housing crisis is at an alarming high with families receiving eviction notices in the U.S. literally every minute.

Now, the same man who spent $31K on a dining set and blamed it on his wife has decided that the people in this country who need housing assistance the most should have to prove that they have a job so that they can qualify to work to pay more for housing assistance.

Even when you reread it and it makes sense, it still doesn’t make sense.

In his defense, HUD did put out a statement saying that the rent increases and work requirements would not apply to households “comprised of elderly persons or persons with disabilities,” at least, not for the first six years.

And yet, it still means that people who are struggling the most to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads will now receive additional pressure from an agency endowed with the responsibility to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”

It is, however, in keeping with two popular administration agendas: a) implement work requirements for people who are struggling to find work to qualify for assistance programs, and b) to installdepartmentleaders whose goals are to work against and ultimately destroy the programs they oversee.

According to the Washington Post, the new legislation will affect single mothers the most and put approximately 1 million children in the country at risk of homelessness.

“Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households. It’s clear from a budget perspective and a human point of view that the current system is unsustainable.” — Ben Carson

So, in order to combat this “unsustainability,” Carson has decided to triple the rent caps on the 700,000 poorest households receiving subsidized housing from $50 to $150.

“The way we calculate the level of assistance to our families is convoluted and creates perverse consequences, such as discouraging these families from earning more income and becoming self-sufficient,” — Ben Carson

More than half of the families who receive assistance through HUD are elderly and/or disabled, and other aspects of the bill, such as the removal of income deductions that can help lower rent costs, could still dramatically impact those communities in the immediate future — far sooner than the six-year grace period.

“The bill would actually increase rents for households that have high medical or child care expenses by eliminating income deductions for those costs. So the greatest burden of the rent increases would be felt by seniors, people with disabilities and families with young kids,”  — Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, vowed to fight the legislation and called it “immoral” and “ill-advised.”

“Thankfully this proposal would require Congressional approval before it can become law, and the Congressional Black Caucus will work with our colleagues in Congress to oppose it and other related measures,”  — Richmond


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