Affordable Housing, Community Development, Federal News, Homelessness

New Voucher, Moving to Work Draft Bills Released

 

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity released a second discussion draft of its legislation on voucher reforms, the Section Eight Savings Act of 2011 (SESA) and circulated the Moving to Work Improvement, Expansion, and Permanency Act of 2011 on October 6.

The SESA bill alters the Subcommittee’s first draft by allowing certain public housing agencies (PHA) and voucher landlords to increase minimum rents, currently capped at $50 a month, to the greater of $75 or 12% of fair market rent (FMR). According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), in more than one third of the nation’s FMR areas, 12% of FMR is greater than $75. For households at 30% of area median income (AMI) and for average-income voucher and public housing residents, the new proposal would not increase rents.

In addition, the bill specifies that to access the bill’s new minimum rent increases, PHAs would have to establish new inspection protocols, and income review simplifications must incorporate job training, educational programming, or other supportive service and rental counseling for some of all of the families who reside in the PHA’s assisted public housing or receive voucher assistance.

The Moving to Work Improvement, Expansion, and Permanency Act of 2011, circulated by Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), would authorize a permanent Moving to Work (MTW) program at HUD and would require the HUD Secretary to approve agencies to participate in MTW if they meet the necessary requirements. The bill includes no limit on the number of PHAs that could participate in MTW. Connecticut has one Moving to Work PHA, the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH).

Opinions among advocates and experts vary with regard to Moving to Work - some are in favor of allowing more MTW authorities, believing the freedom from bureaucratic requirements gives MTW authorities the flexibility they need to innovate and tailor the their approaches specifically to their community; others wish to limit or end MTW, believing the lack of regulation doesn’t offer enough accountability or require sufficient protection of tenants’ rights.

To Learn More:
SESA discussion draft
SESA section-by-section
Draft MTW expansion bill 
Draft MTW bill’s section-by-section summary

 
 

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