Florida Lawmaker Introduces Disaster Housing Bill
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) recently introduced a bill to provide more affordable housing to victims of major disasters. The legislation comes after a series of hurricanes devastated different states and U.S. territories this year. In a statement, Senator Nelson noted that tens of thousands of evacuees in Florida are struggling to find an affordable place to live. According to him, the legislation will “help make more affordable housing in the communities that need it the most.”
The legislation aims to provides additional funding for Section 8 housing, particularly the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Low-income evacuees will be able to get more affordable housing under the voucher program. It limits rental rates to no more than 50 percent of the person’s income.
Under the bill, evacuees earning less than 50 percent of the median income of area will be eligible to receive assistance for affordable housing. Following approval of their applications, voucher holders will be able to choose a unit from the private market.
They won’t pay the full market price of the unit. They will use only 30 percent of their adjusted income toward the rent. The federal government will directly pay the remaining amount to the property owner. The legislation is heading to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.
Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) also recently introduced H.R. 4249, a companion bill mirroring the Nelson bill in the House. In a press release, Murphy stated, “Just as we did after Hurricane Katrina, we should give states who receive hurricane victims the resources they need to provide for their current and new residents.” Both bills also offer medical assistance to eligible evacuees through Medicaid.