Require public housing applicants to provide a 7-year plan to transition into market rate housing
Public Housing was never intended to be permanant or generational. Requiring applicants, with the exception of the elderly and disabled, to provide a transition plan sends that message and encourages the applicants to draft a plan to transition to affordable market rate housing within 7 years, Their plan may include additional education, career advances, 2nd job, etc. This creates a hand up not a hand out
The self sufficiency of tenants is a HUD priority, as seen in the 2010 Strategic Plan (http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/program_offices/cfo/stratplan). However, except for in Moving to Work (MTW) sites, time limits for tenants are not permitted under the Housing Act of 1937 as long as they are income-eligible and comply with program requirements; work requirements are similarly regulated.
Many of the ideas inherent in your proposal are reflected in several HUD programs. The FSS and ROSS programs, for example, fund program coordinators at Housing Authorities in order to link tenants to community supportive services designed to get them back on their feet and living independently such as continuing education, job training, and financial planning.
Having applicants outline a transition plan back to market-rate housing is a very strong idea that we are going to bring to the next level. In the meantime, we would appreciate increased detail from you on how such a program would operate.
The idea of a seven year plan is a good idea, but there should be a stipulation to insure that each case will end with a person or family that is capable of living without government assistance. To achieve this status education should be a requirement to be completed within those seven years, or a reasonable time frame according to individual needs and circumstances.
The idea of a seven year limit is a good idea, but there should be a stipulation to insure that each case will end with a person or family that is capable of living without government assistance. To achieve this status education should be a requirement to be completed within those seven years, or a reasonable time frame according to individual needs and circumstances.
Mr. Ed commented
Where is the HUD Best Practices website, in which users post their good ideas on this, so they can be shared easily?
I beg you to consider the following before supporting this suggestion. The Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. At 40 hours/week, this is $290/week or $15,080/year. In my area, the FMR for a 1-bedroom unit is @ $1,100/month and someone paying 30% of their adjusted gross income could afford $377/month. Where is someone working at a minimum wage job going to find $700+/month for rent? Roommates are not a likely option in a 1-bedroom. Some people can't live with their parents and even pricier areas of the country have low wage jobs. There are VERY few places in the country were $377/month will rent someone a decent, safe and sanitary unit.
In many cases this is not possible, but when it is feasible yes
It is a persistent conservative myth that “public housing was never intended to be permanent or generational.” That myth has been dispelled by reality. President Roosevelt, the author of the public housing program, spoke in his second inaugural address about a “nation ill-housed…” going on to say, “the test of our progress is…whether we provide for those who have too little.” He knew then as we know even better now, publicly supported housing is a necessity for tens of millions of working families. President Roosevelt was a pragmatist, not an ideologue. We have an economy that does not pay a living wage to one quarter of its workers, and market rate developers have not been able to produce housing affordable to those working families. Workers’ wages have been static for the past thirty years, while the cost of food, utilities and rents has climbed, further impoverishing their families. Two in five renters now pay more than 30% of their income for rent, with more than half of them paying more than 50%. President Roosevelt would do the math.
Providing a seven-step program for renters, with a cliff at the end for those who don’t make it is unconscionable, unfair and unjust. You would have us stigmatize and make second-class citizens of low-wage working families. We subsidize homeownership with no time-limits. People who work hard and play by the rules should be afforded decent housing.
Instead of blaming low-income families for the inequities in the economy, maybe HUD should confer with the Departments of Labor and Commerce to create jobs that pay a living wage so workers can afford to choose market-rate housing.
The shortage of housing that is affordable for the lowest-income families grew significantly between 2007 and 2008, according to a new analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey data.
National Low Income Housing Coalition research showed that in 2007, the shortage of homes affordable for extremely low-income renters (those earning 30 percent or less of their area median income) was 2.7 million, compared to 3.1 million in 2008. The coalition expects the shortage to be worse for 2009 and 2010 due to increases in unemployment and the resulting loss of household income.
“In the array of subsidies and bailouts that Congress and the administration have given out in an attempt to repair the economy in the last year, more than $1.1 trillion has gone to the housing sector through foreclosure mitigation programs, tax credits for homebuyers and cash infusions to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” housing coalition President Sheila Crowley said in a statement. “Not one dollar has been devoted just to addressing the shortage of rental housing for extremely low-income families,” she said.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition and housing advocates are calling on Congress to put at least $1 billion in the National Housing Trust Fund before the end of the year to support the immediate construction of rental homes.
Even with decent, steady employment, many families cannot afford "market-rate" rents. Given this economic climate, many families are struggling simply to gain or maintain employment.
This is a great suggestion, but I think 7 years is too long. At least it's more palatable than what the current program allows. The comment from Julie is ridiculous. Why is it the taxpayers problem to pay the rent indefinitely for people who have no motivation to obtain training to properly support their own children. I was a single parent with a small child, barely making more than minimum wage. It was my decision to have a child, not the taxpayers' so why should taxpayers' be expected to support me and my kid??? I had to scrape by. There are ways to make a living - even on minimum wage. Ever hear of room-mates? Staying at home with parents? Moving to an affordable city? Where is the personal responsibility here. People need to be accountable for their own actions and the decisions they make in life. There are plenty of free programs, subsidized day care, college programs, etc., but you have to be motivated. Where's the motivation when you can sit home and have someone else pay your rent????
Julie Garver commented
The "hand up" model only works if you provide the tools (or access to the tools) that a low income person in public/affordable housing can use to develop job skills or improve their career. Will you provide childcare so that training can be accessed? Will you pay for community college? Will you provide budgeting classes to learn how to repair heavily damaged credit? These are the tools that are needed to "transition"...so be ready to support Resident Services programs through Housing Authorities and Non-Profit housing owners in order to implement the above programs.
It's a very nice idea, but there are a lot of people who are not diagnosed as "disabled", but who have low earning potential, for whom this would not be feasible. Also, what about areas of the country where rents are so high that a family earning a modest wage cannot afford to rent without help?