Re: HUD Housing Voucher Fund Increase Proposed By Clinton & Cuomo

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (
Wed, 29 Dec 1999 13:26:09 -0800

Sure hope those "vouchers" are big enough to use as a tent.  the last 
lottery for housing vouchers in SF saw 44% of them returned because 
the folks they were awarded to couldn't find any housing here. This 
was reported by Evelyn Nieves of the NYTIMES in one of her recent 
articles about homelessness in SF.



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>FWD  Washington Post - December 28, 1999
>     By Anne Gearan
>     Associated Press Writer
>     Tuesday, Dec. 28, 1999; 11:32 p.m. EST
>WASHINGTON -- President Clinton is proposing a $690 million expansion of a
>federal program to help the working poor afford decent houses and
>apartments, administration officials said Tuesday.
>The money would pay for 120,000 new housing vouchers nationwide, Housing
>Secretary Andrew Cuomo said.
>Cuomo said the expanded voucher program, which the White House planned to
>announce Wednesday, would be included in Clinton's budget proposal for
>fiscal 2001. That budget plan is due on Capitol Hill next month.
>The vouchers would expand an existing $9.5 billion program that now serves
>as many as 1.7 million poor households.
>"The need for affordable housing is higher than ever - 5.3 million American
>families need affordable housing" but cannot find it, Cuomo said. "It's
>actually a cruel irony of the strong economy," which often drives the price
>of formerly affordable housing beyond the reach of the working poor, Cuomo
>said in an interview.
>The vouchers work like this: Poor families, most of them earning at or near
>the federal poverty level of about $17,000 a year for a family of four, can
>apply for extra money to help make rent payments.
>Families must contribute 30 percent of their income, with the balance paid
>by the voucher. The amount of the vouchers varies by family, depending on
>housing needs and expense, and is capped at what officials define as the
>local fair market rate.
>Vouchers are distributed by local housing authorities under the
>administration of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
>The local authorities typically have long waiting lists for subsidized
>Clinton proposes setting aside 18,000 of the new vouchers for homeless
>families and 32,000 for families moving from welfare to work, said a White
>house aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.
>The new voucher request would help more working people live where the jobs
>are, the aide said.
>"In today's economy, about two-thirds of new jobs are being created in the
>suburbs - far from where many low-income families live," the aide said.
>Congress approved no new housing vouchers for four years after Republicans
>assumed control of both the House and Senate in 1994. Congress did approve
>50,000 new vouchers for 1999 and 60,000 new ones for the fiscal 2000 budget
>- fewer than Clinton requested but still what Cuomo called "a tremendous
>Cuomo said this latest White House voucher proposal probably would be
>whittled down by congressional Republicans.
>Julie Dammann, chief of staff to Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., said,
>"Vouchers are a short-term solution" that may add new families to the ranks
>of subsidized renters but do little to ensure they remain in stable housing
>situations in the future.
>Tens of thousands of tenants across the country have lost their subsidized
>HUD housing - or risk losing it -; as landlords drop out of the federal
>program known as "Section 8" to seek higher rents on the open market.
>"HUD has been maybe a little too focused on new vouchers, because it looks
>like you're helping more people - a big welcome mat at the front door -
>while you're losing others out the back door," Ms. Dammann said Tuesday.
>Bond, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on HUD, was among
>bipartisan lawmakers who took $100,000 away from Clinton's 2000 voucher
>request and put it into so-called sticky vouchers.
>These are subsidies that a tenant may keep even if their landlord opts out
>of Section 8. Bond wrote to Cuomo this month to urge him to begin making
>use of the sticky voucher program, Ms. Dammann said.
>Over a period of 2 & 1/2 years, ending in December 1998, nearly 100,000
>units of HUD housing have been lost, according to the private National
>Housing Trust.
>**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
>distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
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>educational purposes only.**
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