Housing Agencies Restore Some Vouchers Lost Due to Sequestration
An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and new data from HUD show that agencies restored 30,000 vouchers to low-income families over the past year. This amounts to approximately one-third of the 100,000 vouchers cut in the 16 months after sequestration took effect in March 2013.
However, CBPP points out that this progress is modest and more work needs to be done. Only one in four households that qualify for federal rental assistance receives it, and housing costs are increasingly outpacing incomes, resulting in severely cost-burdened low-income renters. To restore the remaining vouchers cut by sequestration, CBPP recommends that HUD’s 2016 budget include:
- Funding to renew all of the nearly 2.2 million vouchers that is likely be in use at the end of this year. This will require $18.05 billion in 2016, or $560 million above the 2015 funding level, according to CBPP estimates based on the new HUD data. While the House-passed Transportation-HUD funding bill meets this goal, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill doesn’t.
- Sufficient funding to restore the remaining vouchers cut by sequestration. President Obama’s budget requested $512 million to restore an additional 67,000 vouchers, including 30,000 vouchers targeted to reduce homelessness among families with children and veterans, help victims of domestic violence who are forced to flee their homes, and prevent the separation of children from their families due to a lack of affordable housing. The Senate bill takes a step in this direction: It includes $75 million for 10,000 new vouchers for homeless veterans and $20 million for some 2,500 new “family unification” vouchers to help families with children and youth to stay together. The House bill includes no funding to restore vouchers.