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  • Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need
    Will Fischer and Barbara Sard
    December 18, 2013

    The federal government spent $270 billion in 2012 to help Americans buy or rent homes, but little of that spending went to the families who struggle the most to afford housing.  As the charts below show, federal housing expenditures are unbalanced in two respects:  they target a disproportionate share of …
  • Rental Assistance Helps More Than 300,000 Veterans Afford Homes, but Large Unmet Needs Remain
    Will Fischer
    Revised November 22, 2013

    Rental assistance helps more than 300,000 veterans — the great majority of them poor or near poor — afford decent housing.  It appears to have played a central role in the 23 percent reduction in veterans’ homelessness between 2009 and 2013, and it allows recipients to devote more of their limited resources …
  • Portman Proposal for Automatic Continuing Resolutions Would Impede Appropriations Process and Could Produce Very Deep Funding Cuts
    Richard Kogan
    November 12, 2013

    Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has introduced legislation under which a year-long “continuing resolution” would take effect automatically — and force ever deeper funding cuts over the course of the year — if policymakers have not enacted one or more appropriations bills or a temporary continuing resolution by the start …
  • Housing Voucher Utilization Data: How to Use the Data
    November 11, 2013

    1.  Introduction: How to Use the Housing Choice Voucher Utilization Data Housing Choice Voucher utilization data may be used in many ways.  First and foremost, the data show the considerable impact that the program has in helping low-income families in every state to obtain stable housing at an affordable cost.  But stakeholders may wish to use the …
  • Sequestration Could Cut Housing Vouchers for as Many as 185,000 Low-Income Families by the End of 2014
    Douglas Rice
    November 6, 2013

    Because of the sequestration cuts instituted on March 1 of this year, state and local housing agencies are facing substantial shortfalls in funding to renew the Housing Choice Vouchers that more than 2.1 million low-income households use to rent modest private-market housing at an affordable cost.  If Congress does not cancel sequestration as part of …
  • Averting a Budget Crisis Is Not Enough: Criteria for Evaluating Fall Budget Proposals
    Sharon Parrott, Richard Kogan, and Robert Greenstein
    September 10, 2013

    Now that Congress has returned from the summer recess, it will have to set funding levels for discretionary programs for fiscal year 2014 (or risk a government shutdown) and raise the debt ceiling (or see the nation default on legally binding financial obligations).  In both areas, the House and Senate are far apart.  House …
  • Renters’ Tax Credit Would Promote Equity and Advance Balanced Housing Policy
    Barbara Sard and Will Fischer
    Revised August 21, 2013

    Related files Report without appendices (32pp.) Appendix 1: Comparison of Capped and Uncapped Credits (4pp.) Appendix 2: Method Used to Estimate Cost and Impact of a Renters’ Credit (3pp.) Appendix 3: State Tables (9pp.) One-Page Fact Sheet Over the past several decades, the nation’s housing policy has focused predominantly on increasing homeownership.  Most federal housing expenditures now benefit families with relatively little need for …
  • Senate HUD Funding Bill Reverses Harmful Sequestration Cuts in Housing Assistance
    Douglas Rice
    July 19, 2013

    Related files Report without appendices (12pp.) Table A: Housing Choice Voucher Cuts, by State (2pp.) Table B: Public Housing Operating and Capital Fund Cuts, by State (2pp.) Table C: HOME Funding Cuts, by State (2pp.) Table D: Community Development Block Grant Cuts, by State Table E: Emergency Solutions Grant Cuts, by State, 2013 As early as next week, the House and Senate will consider separate bills to fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for fiscal year 2014.  The stark …
  • Most Rental Assistance Recipients Work, Are Elderly, or Have Disabilities
    Barbara Sard[1]
    July 17, 2013

    As administrators of federal rental assistance programs face strained resources and mounting needs for affordable housing, it’s reasonable to consider whether they should develop and implement policies to encourage and assist families they serve to gain skills and work experience that could help them find jobs and increase their earnings.…
  • “Moving to Work” Compromise Would Reduce Risk from Expanding Demonstration
    Will Fischer
    June 25, 2013

    Major legislation to reform low-income housing assistance programs that Congress may consider this year could include a significant expansion of the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration.  Under MTW, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has granted broad waivers of federal statutes and regulations and established …
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction Is Ripe for Reform
    Will Fischer and Chye-Ching Huang
    Revised June 25, 2013

    Costing at least $70 billion a year, the mortgage interest deduction is one of the largest federal tax expenditures, but it appears to do little to achieve the goal of expanding homeownership.  The main reason is that the bulk of its benefits go to higher-income households who generally could afford a home without assistance:  in …
  • Sequestration Could Deny Rental Assistance to 140,000 Low-Income Families
    Douglas Rice
    April 2, 2013

    The budget cuts known as “sequestration,” initiated on March 1, will likely force state and local housing agencies to cut the number of low-income families using Housing Choice Vouchers to afford housing by roughly 140,000 by early 2014.[1]   This represents a sharp break from Congress’ bipartisan commitment — …
  • Deficit Reduction Should Not Increase Poverty and Hardship
    Arloc Sherman, Sharon Parrott, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, and Jimmy Charite
    March 11, 2013

    Executive Summary With President Obama and lawmakers of both parties vowing to achieve further deficit reduction, the stakes are high for low- and moderate-income Americans.  If policymakers heavily target programs that serve vulnerable Americans, they will run the risk of increasing poverty and hardship and reducing opportunity for …
  • Estimated Cuts in Federal Housing Assistance and Community Development Programs Due to Sequestration, 2013
    Updated March 5, 2013

    Automatic, across-the-board funding cuts in most federal programs (or “sequestration”) had been scheduled to begin on January 2, but the “fiscal cliff” budget deal enacted by President Obama and Congress delayed these cuts until March 1, 2013.  The budget deal also reduced the amount to be sequestered in fiscal …
  • Testimony of Robert Greenstein, President, Before Senate Budget Committee
    Robert Greenstein
    February 13, 2013

    I appreciate the invitation to testify today on the impact of federal budget decisions on families and communities.  This is an important matter.  As you know, the nation will have to make tough decisions to put the budget on a more sustainable fiscal course.  The issue is not only whether policymakers act to secure adequate …
  • Policy Basics: Federal Rental Assistance
    January 25, 2013

    What Is Federal Rental Assistance? Federal rental assistance enables 5 million low-income households to afford modest homes.  Three major programs — Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing — assist about 90 percent of these households.  Other programs serve households with special needs, including the “202” and “811” Supportive Housing Programs for the Elderly and for People with Disabilities; Housing …
  • Policy Basics: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
    January 25, 2013

    The Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs enable more than 2 million people in 1.2 million low-income households to afford modest apartments by contracting with private owners to rent some or all of the units in their housing developments to low-income families.  Seniors or …
  • Policy Basics: Introduction to Public Housing
    Updated January 25, 2013

    What Is Public Housing? Public housing is one of the nation’s three main rental assistance programs, along with “Section 8” vouchers and project-based rental assistance.  Public housing developments provide affordable homes to 2.2 million low-income Americans. Where Is …
  • Policy Basics: The Housing Choice Voucher Program
    Updated January 25, 2013

    Created in the 1970s, the “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher Program has become the dominant form of federal housing assistance. What Is the Housing Voucher Program? Low-income families use vouchers to help pay for housing that they find in the private market.  The program is …
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