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Policy Implications


Posted Date: January 13, 2010

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Rental Housing Assistance — The Worsening Crisis: A Report to Congress on Worst Case Housing Needs

The implications of this report's findings on rising worst case housing needs and diminishing supplies of affordable housing are:

  • The Federal Government must continue to expand rental assistance. Failing to provide sufficient annual increases in rental housing assistance will exacerbate worst case needs and leave extremely-low-income American families stranded in an increasingly constricted housing market. Rental assistance is a critical and flexible tool that provides access to decent and affordable housing for low-income families of all backgrounds including the elderly, working families with children, and minority households. The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2001, which includes funding for 120,000 incremental Section 8 vouchers, is an essential step forward to overcome this affordable housing crisis and reduce the number of families suffering worst case housing problems.
  • Federal rental assistance is critical for working families with worst case needs, whose incomes are increasingly consumed by rent, leaving them less able to spend on food, medical care, education, or other necessities. By providing 32,000 Section 8 vouchers for use with local welfare-to-work efforts, the President's FY2001 Budget will help families find permanent employment and locate decent, affordable housing.
  • Federal programs that supply affordable housing—such as the HOME Investment Partnership program, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)—must be complemented by continued expansion of tenant-based rental assistance to relieve worst case housing needs. Without tenant-based subsidies, the extremely-low-income households most likely to have worst case needs can rarely afford the housing created by these programs. The President's FY2001 Budget recognizes this reality by providing 10,000 incremental Section 8 vouchers specifically targeted for use in conjunction with the LIHTC and FHA Multifamily Insurance.
  • Additional Federal programs that help provide permanent affordable housing for vulnerable populations, including the Housing for People with AIDS (HOPWA) and Shelter Plus Care programs, should also be expanded to better meet the continuum of housing needs for extremely-low-income Americans. The Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons With Disabilities Programs are important vehicles for providing affordable housing and supportive services for these needy populations.
  • Additional resources to expand the supply of affordable housing may be available from surplus funds generated by the Federal Housing Administration and its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund. HUD and OMB are currently preparing recommendations to the President for how best to use these newly available funds to further strengthen Federal housing programs and enhance comprehensive affordable housing opportunities.

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