Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Wednesday will propose tripling the amount the poorest households are expected to pay for rent as well as encourage those receiving housing subsidies to work, according to the administration’s legislative proposal obtained by The Washington Post.
The move to overhaul how low-income rental subsidies are calculated would affect more than 4.5 million families relying on federal housing assistance. The proposed legislation would require congressional approval.
Tenants generally pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent or a public housing agency minimum rent — which is capped at $50 a month for the poorest families. The administration’s legislative proposal sets the family monthly rent contribution at 35 percent of gross income or 35 percent of their earnings working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage. Under the proposal, the cap for the poorest families would rise to approximately $150 a month, three times higher than the current minimum.
The Trump administration has long signaled through its budget proposals and leaked draft legislation that it seeks to increase the rents that low-income tenants pay to live in federally subsidized housing.
The White House budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year indicated that it would “encourage work and self-sufficiency” across its rental assistance programs. The reforms would require adults who are able to work to “shoulder more of their housing costs and provide an incentive to increase their earnings,” budget documents said.
HUD also seeks to change the deductions that could be considered when determining a tenant’s rent, eliminating deductions for medical and child-care costs.
“When we are in the middle of a housing crisis that’s having the most negative impact on the lowest income people, we shouldn’t even be considering proposals to increase their rent burdens,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Carson plans to lay out the administration’s plans in a press call about an hour before a Wednesday afternoon House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on rent restructuring.