By
Joseph Pennisi
|
December 11, 2018

Working families, the elderly and disabled will be poorer after HUD reforms [Orlando Sentinel]

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Where you live shapes your opportunities in life, and the fact that so many of our fellow Floridians can’t afford a decent home for themselves and their families affects all of us. Yet, just as Central Florida begins making progress toward helping struggling families find safe, decent, affordable places to live, along comes a new proposal from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will take us in the wrong direction. Make no mistake, the agency’s proposal will cause more people and families to become homeless and punish Floridians who already face the biggest obstacles to making ends meet.

While Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s rhetoric in support of the measure focuses on so-called ‘reforms,’ the reality is very different. Let’s detail what the proposal would actually do:

  • It would increase rents on most families living in housing supported by HUD. Currently, residents in assisted housing pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent with the federal support making up the difference. Under the proposed legislation, that figure would rise to 35 percent of the family’s gross income. Shifting to gross income means they would not be able to deduct expenses like medical care and child care in determining how much rent they pay.
  • It would triple the minimum rent for these families, from $50 to $150 per month. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this would raise rents the most for the poorest families receiving rental assistance from HUD. There are approximately 1.7 million people in these families, and the vast majority of them have incomes of less than $7,000. Included in those families are almost 1 million children. Taking an additional $1,200 from them to cover the higher rent would make it even harder for them to afford basic necessities.
  • It would increase rents on the elderly and people with disabilities. The poorest and least able to afford housing in the private market would see their rents increased over time to 30 percent of their gross income with a minimum rent of $50 per month.

Read more on orlandosentinel.com

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