[Hpn] Washington, DC - Groups Speak Out on Section 8 Crisis - National Coalition for the Homeless - December 21, 2002

H C Covington H C Covington <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Sun, 22 Dec 2002 19:56:11 -0600


National Homelessness Groups Speak Out on Section 8 Crisis

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By Staff Writers - National Coalition for the Homeless - December 21, 2002

Homelessness is dramatically increasing in our nation.

According to the US Conference of Mayors report, requests for
emergency shelter among families have increased by 20 percent in
the past year and 38 percent of all requests by families went unmet
due to lack of capacity.

As national organizations committed to the goal of preventing and
ending homelessness, we are deeply concerned with the House
Appropriations Committee's decision to cut $938 million from the
President's budget for the Section 8 housing voucher program in
the fiscal year 2003 Veterans Affairs-HUD-Independent Agencies
Appropriations Bill.

This drastic cut would result in a significant reduction in the
number of families provided vouchers - possibly as many as
125,000 vouchers, increasing the risk of homelessness among
families already struggling to find and maintain affordable
housing.

The federal voucher program is especially important given the
tightening housing squeeze on low-income families at risk of
homelessness.

Census data show that in 1999 more than five million low-income
renter households who did not receive housing assistance either
paid more than half of their income for rent and utilities or
lived in severely substandard housing.

The tenant-based Section 8 program, which provides Housing Choice
Vouchers to qualified families, is a vital part of our country's
housing policy and a central element to any effective strategy to
prevent and end homelessness.

Nearly 1.6 million families rely on this program to help pay rent
every month. Given the housing affordability crisis faced by our
country's poorest families, we should be expanding, not
threatening, this program.

We strongly urge Congress to protect low-income families assisted
by housing vouchers- and the tens of thousands of additional
households on waiting lists for vouchers- by funding the program
at least at the level provided in the President's budget and by
rejecting the change in the renewal formula as proposed in the
House version of the bill.

In addition, Congress could build on the program's recent success
by enacting further reforms proposed in the 107th Congress
through H.R. 3995, the Housing Affordability for America Act, and
S. 2721, the Housing Voucher Improvement Act.

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American Association of People with Disabilities
American Network of Community Options and Resources
Arc of the United States
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Corporation for Supportive Housing
McAuley Institute
National Alliance to End Homelessness
NAMI
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Mental Health Association
National Network for Youth
Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.

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For more informaton, contact:
Brad Paul, National Coalition for the Homeless,
(202) 737-6444 X13, bpaul@nationalhomeless.org
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source page:  http://www.nationalhomeless.org/housing/section8dec21.html

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