House Approves Rental Assistance Reform Bill Unanimously

House Approves Rental Assistance Reform Bill Unanimously

Washington, D.C. – February 4, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — On February 2, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 3700(link is external) (the Housing Opportunities through Modernization Act), making a number of basic administrative changes to public housing, housing choice vouchers and project-based rental assistance. The changes are similar to those proposed in the Section Eight Voucher Reform Act (SEVRA) and the Affordable Housing and Self-Sufficiency Improvement Act (AHSSIA) in years past:

  • Improves the project-basing of vouchers to increase housing options while ensuring choice.
  • Changes income reviews to allow residents to hold onto 100% of increased earnings from income longer.
  • Imposes housing assistance limits for households with incomes above 120% of AMI.
  • Streamlines income deductions, while requiring hardship exemptions for negatively impacted families.
  • Allows for expedited inspection processes for units to be rented with vouchers to quicken local efforts to house families and individuals.

An analysis(link is external) summary of the bill prior to passage is posted on the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities website.  Several amendments were approved by the full House.  The approved amendments:

  • Retain the current law related to the standard $480 deduction from income for dependents, as well as for all child care costs, that public and assisted housing residents may take before their rents are calculated.
  • Allow housing choice vouchers to cover costs beyond the rental of the land underneath a manufactured home, including helping the manufactured homeowner pay for the cost of their home, its insurance, utilities, and property taxes.
  • Require HUD to publish model guidelines for minimum heating requirements for units operated by public housing agencies.
  • Direct the Secretaries of HUD and Labor to produce an annual report on strategies to strengthen family economic empowerment
  • Require HUD to study the impacts of H.R. 3700’s income deduction changes on rents paid by the elderly, people with disabilities, and families.
  • Update the formula for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program to count people living with HIV/AIDS and require HUD to develop regulations that incorporate a poverty factor and a housing cost factor in the updated formula.
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