HUD wants to raise rents for those getting federal housing aid

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson takes his seat before testifying before a House Committee on Appropriation subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson takes his seat before testifying before a House Committee on Appropriation subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday

Currently, assisted households contribute 30 percent of their gross income toward rent, or a minimum monthly rent of up to $50 as determined by a public housing authority, with the government paying the remainder.

According to The Washington Post, Carson's proposals would triple rents paid by the poorest Americans, as well as impose work requirements in return for housing benefits.

The move needs congressional approval.

"HUD is seeking to reform decades-old rent policies that are confusing, costly and counterproductive, in that the incentives they create often fail to adequately support individuals and families receiving HUD rental assistance in increasing their earnings", the release states. There are people who do work. HUD officials said that group makes up more than half the 4.7 million families receiving subsidies. "The current system isn't working very well".

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Congress would still have to approve the plan, dubbed the Make Affordable Housing Work Act.

In an effort to reform a system that the administration describes as "broken", Carson said he aims to institute "a menu of choice rents that housing authorities and owners may implement to promote greater flexibility, local control and self-sufficiency for non-elderly, non-disabled households". Elderly and disabled tenants would be exempt from the increase. "It's clear from a budget perspective and from a human standpoint that this is not sustainable".

"Every year, it takes more money, millions of dollars more, to serve the same number of households", Carson said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

They don't care how much you have to pay in your medical bills, they don't care if you have childcare costs because you have to put your child in daycare so that you can go work, but you'd better still work.

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Carson said some tenants have found loopholes into the system, so he wants to "level the playing field".

Reports of the HUD proposal surfaced shortly before Carson was expected to discuss the administration's plans in a Wednesday afternoon press call. You can deduct those things on your taxes to get your net income, why shouldn't it also be deducted when determining real income for those applying for housing assistance?

The White House budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year indicated that it would "encourage work and self-sufficiency" across its rental assistance programs.

Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition also weighed in, saying, "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 burdens".

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