Improving HUD’s Rental Assistance Program

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Washington – (RealEstateRama) — The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee met today to review the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) role in rental assistance and a legislative proposal that would adjust rent costs for families in assisted housing.

The “Promoting Resident Opportunity through Rent Reform Act,” which will be sponsored by Congressman Dennis Ross, would reform the approach and flexibility to provided localities in setting and calculating the amount families living in public and federally assisted housing contribute toward rent.

“Today’s hearing was an important step in our efforts to reform various programs at HUD that are intended to provide low-income families with taxpayer assisted housing while incentivizing self-sufficiency and increasing opportunities for employment,” said Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI). “It is incumbent on us to make sure the system is helping those it is intended to while ensuring taxpayer funds are spent efficiently. We must also remember why these programs are here and do what we can to reduce the limitations holding back our PHA’s ability to tailor solutions to families and individuals in different circumstances.”

Topline Quotes from Witnesses

“We all share a desire to and the goal of providing housing assistance that will serve as a springboard of opportunity for the families we serve and that with affordable rent and supportive programs, our families will move up the economic ladder and move into unsubsidized housing that they can afford on their own.” – William O. Russell III, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sarasota, Florida Housing Authority

“Many of the proposed rent determination methods included within this legislation were tested and proved effective at Moving to Work agencies across the country. Although rent reform would provide housing agencies with additional flexibility and choice to structure rent determinations that work best with their local priorities and the families they serve, allowing all housing agencies interested in joining the Moving to Work Demonstration would be even more impactful, given their ability to use resources to help families become successful.” – Adrianne Todman, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials

“Our rent-reform initiative, Path to Success, applies to both the rental assistance and public housing programs. The right types of reforms enhance the effectiveness of these programs. However, advocacy of two extremes has occurred in the past, both of which would be detrimental to the families we serve through these programs. One is the traditional practice of only utilizing the percentage of a household’s income to determine the amount they pay toward their rent. … The second detrimental extreme is term limits, or restrictions on the length of time that families can receive rental assistance.” – Richard C. Gentry, President and Chief Executive Officer, San Diego, California Housing Commission

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