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Voucher Reform Legislation Passes Subcommittee, Full Committee to Review on 2/28


The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity passed the discussion draft of the the Affordable Housing and Self-Sufficiency Improvement Act (AHSSIA) on 2/7.  The draft AHSSIA bill was first introduced on 1/13, with a revised draft released on 1/31. The full Committee will consider the bill on February 28.  A summary of the discussion at the February 7 mark up hearing is available the National Low Income Housing website.

The draft AHSSIA bill outlines reforms to the following programs:

  • Section 8 Voucher program
  • Rental Assistance Demonstration
  • Family Self-Sufficiency program
  • Moving to Work program
  • Access to HUD programs and Mark-to-Market program extension

Of particular concern to housing advocates are provisions that would increase minimum rents for public housing residents and greatly expand the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration program. The 1/31 draft of the bill requires that housing authorities set a minimum rent of $69.45 for for public housing, voucher, and project-based Section 8 assisted households.  Unlike the prior version of the bill which did not set a limit on the amount of the minimum rent, the 1/31 version indexes the minimum rent to inflation.  An analysis of the minimum rent provision by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is available here.  The 1/31 version of the bill the same language from the 1/13 version that would expand the MTW demonstration.  

Provisions considered by housing advocates to be positive include improvements to the project-basing of vouchers, streamlining of rent and income determinations, and streamlining of the inspection process for potential voucher units. In terms of project-based vouchers, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports that the 1/31 bill would allow for an additional 5% of an agency’s vouchers to be project-based to provide units for households that are homeless, who are veterans, that provide supportive housing to persons with disabilities, that provide supportive housing to elderly persons or that are located in areas where vouchers are difficult to use.  

The NLIHC also notes that, unlike earlier voucher reform bills (such as SEVRA and SESA), this draft bill does not provide for the following: “an earned income disregard to tenants, does not improve portability, does not include reforms to the Section 8 Management Assessment Program, does not fully address voucher funding renewal issues, and does not include improvements to how vouchers can be used in manufactured housing, among other long-sought provisions.”

More information about the 2/7 hearing can be found in NLICH’s Memo to Member’s here

The 1/31 draft of the AHISSA legislation can be found here.



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