Revised March 8, 2004

Administration Proposal Could Cause Loss of 250,000 Housing Vouchers in 2005

PDF of fact sheet

Full Report: Administration Seeks Deep Cuts In Housing Vouchers and Conversion of Program to a Block Grant

Press Release:  President's Budget Would Slash Major Housing Program By 30 Percent By 2009

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A new Center report, Administration Seeks Deep Cuts in Housing Vouchers and Conversion of Program to a Block Grant, examines the radical changes that the Administration proposes to make in the housing voucher program.1 The Administration’s fiscal year 2005 budget would significantly cut the program’s funding and convert it into a block grant to state and local housing agencies, eliminating basic protections for low-income families that have undergirded the program for decades.

(1)        If they chose to assist fewer households, agencies would have to shrink the program by 250,000 families next year and by about 600,000 families by 2009.

(2)        If they chose to raise rents, they would have to charge an average of about $850 more per family in 2005, and $2,000 more per family in 2009, even though most voucher holders have incomes below the poverty line.

(3)        They could reduce the average cost per voucher by shifting vouchers that become available through turnover away from poor households and toward those that have higher incomes and need less assistance.  Such a step, which HUD budget documents misleadingly present as an “efficiency” measure, would mean helping fewer of the families the program was designed to help: those with the greatest needs.  Moreover, such a step could offset only a small part of the proposed funding cut.

End Note:

1 Also called the “Section 8” program, the voucher program is the nation’s largest low-income housing assistance program.  It provides about 2 million low-income households — mostly low-income working families, elderly people, or people with disabilities — with vouchers that help cover the cost of obtaining housing on the open market.