Senior Policy Analyst
A bill that the House Financial Services Committee will likely consider in the coming weeks would simplify administration of federal rental assistance programs through reforms that have received broad bipartisan support. As this excerpt from my testimony on the Housing Opportunities through Modernization Act (HOTMA) explains:
The reforms in the bill would substantially reduce administrative burdens for state and local housing agencies and private owners while giving them added flexibility to further key goals such as reducing homelessness, improving access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and addressing repair needs in public housing. At the same time, the reforms would leave in place the core characteristics that have helped make federal rental assistance effective.
The bill would make particularly important improvements in three areas:
Congress has considered most of these provisions for much of the last decade as part of the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act (SEVRA) and the Affordable Housing and Self-Sufficiency Improvement Act (AHSSIA), which have received broad support from both parties and a wide range of stakeholders. Congress should move promptly to advance HOTMA and refrain from adding controversial provisions that could delay or block the bill’s enactment. In addition, Congress could extend the bill’s positive impact by adding provisions in two other areas that SEVRA, AHSSIA, and other bipartisan bills have addressed:
The nation needs its housing assistance programs to be as efficient and effective as possible, I explained, and HOTMA would take major steps toward that goal. Congress should enact these reforms promptly.