Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson on Wednesday unveiled a proposal to triple the rent for low-income Americans on housing assistance and impose work requirements on the program, a move that comes as the White House has pushed for adults to “shoulder more of their housing costs and provide an incentive to increase their earnings,” The Washington Post reports.
While tenets receiving federal housing assistance are required to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward housing, with a $50 per month cap for the poorest groups, Carson’s plan, proposed in the form of congressional legislation, would push for a 35 percent contribution with a new cap of $150 per month.
It would also require that the money be made by at least 15 hours of work at the federal minimum wage level.
“The system we currently use to calculate a family’s rental assistance is broken and holds back the very people we’re supposed to be helping,” Carson said in a statement. “HUD-assisted households are now required to surrender a long list of personal information, and any new income they earn is ‘taxed’ every year in the form of a rent increase. Today, we begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time.”
The Post notes that HUD is also considering gutting “deductions that could be considered when determining a tenant’s rent, eliminating deductions for medical and childcare costs.”
A HUD press release noted that the proposed increases would not apply to households “comprised of elderly persons or persons with disabilities.”
Carson’s Making Affordable Housing Work Act comes after the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget vowed it would “encourage work and self-sufficiency” across housing assistance programs.
“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, the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.