HUD Looks to Raise Rent for Public Housing

April 26, 2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a proposal on Wednesday that would increase the amount of income that Americans living on housing assistance pay toward rent on public housing. 

Currently, most tenants who receive federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent. The government then pays the remainder, up to a certain amount. But under HUD’s new proposal, renters would devote 35 percent of their gross income to paying rent. 

Rental payments of some families could triple, increasing from $50 per month to a minimum of $150, NPR reports. Under the proposal, about 712,000 households would see their rents jump to $150 per month, according to HUD.

Ben Carson, HUD secretary, has said the current way HUD calculates families' rental assistance is outdated. He says an update to rental policies would provide a “simpler, less invasive and more transparent” system. 

“The way we calculate the level of assistance to our families is convoluted and creates perverse consequences, such as discouraging these families from earning more income and becoming self-sufficient,” Carson told reporters. 

Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, criticized the proposal. “The bill would actually increase rents for households that have high medical or child care expenses by eliminating income deductions for those costs,” Yentel asserts.

The proposal still must be approved by Congress. 

HUD says the proposal would not impact the rental costs of those receiving federal subsidies who are 65 and older or those with disabilities for the first six years. More than half of the families HUD serves are elderly or disabled, according to HUD.

About 4.7 million families receive public assistance from HUD on housing. 

Source: “HUD Unveils Plan to Increase Rent on Millions Receiving Federal Housing Assistance,” NPR (April 25, 2018)