CBPP Estimates Higher Rents for HUD-Assisted Families under Trump Budget Proposal

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would allow HUD to raise rents for up to four million HUD-assisted low-income families. According to the analysis, the budget would increase rents by:

  • Authorizing HUD to require state and local housing agencies and private owners of subsidized housing to raise rents from 30 percent of a low-income family’s income to 35 percent, and to eliminate deductions from these calculations for factors that reduce a household’s ability to pay rent, such as high medical or child-related expenses;
  • Eliminating assistance that helps the lowest-income rental assistance recipients cover utility bills;
  • Requiring housing agencies and owners to charge the lowest-income families minimum rents of $50 a month even if this exceeds 30 percent (or 35 percent) of their income;
  • Letting HUD make virtually any change to the rent rules for the housing voucher program, including imposing unlimited rent increases; and
  • Cutting payments for “enhanced vouchers” that protect residents from displacement in buildings that previously received other types of federal subsidies, thereby forcing the residents to pay higher rents or lose their homes. 

The budget also proposes to block payment increases due to owners of subsidized housing to keep pace with rising operating costs or market rents. While that would not directly raise tenant rents, it could cause owners to stop participating in subsidy programs, leaving families vulnerable to displacement.     

The study predicts the Trump budget proposals would authorize HUD to raise rents on 4 million low-income families by an average of $84 a month (not counting the cut in enhanced vouchers or the unspecified voucher rent changes). The proposal could result in an average increase of 53 percent ($101 per month) for HUD-assisted households with children, 28 percent ($83 per month) for seniors, and 26 percent ($72 per month) for households headed by a person with a disability. Working households could see an increase of 29 percent ($111 per month). And the increase could be more than $200 per month for 170,000 households.