Re: Reinventing Section 8 - HUD User News FWD

P. Myers (
Wed, 28 Jul 1999 14:12:47 -0700 (PDT)

Tom, thanks for posting this...Seattle news has run 
a little about this dilemma.

As you know, Joe and I are still trying to find a Sect.
8 in or around Seattle.  Another HUGE problem is that
we, as everyone looking, are just out.there. and no help.

One would think that some sort of helping service would
pick up on this need...just *finding* Sect.8 is next to


On Wed, 28 Jul 1999, Tom Boland wrote:

> Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 09:44:52 -0400
> Reply-To:
> Sender:
> Precedence: first-class
> From: ".Housing" <>
> To: "''" <>
> Subject: Reinventing Section 8
>  <<...>>  <<...>>
> Although it currently helps 3 million families around the country, HUD's
> Section 8 program faces a critical challenge that threatens the ability of
> these families to afford decent housing. Starting in 1975, HUD signed
> 20-year contracts with private owners to provide project-based Section 8
> subsidies to their properties. These long-term contracts are now expiring,
> creating widespread fear and uncertainty about whether the housing will
> remain affordable.
> The magnitude of this problem is documented in a new HUD report.  "Opting
> In: Renewing America's Commitment to Affordable Housing" quantifies the
> number and locations of subsidized units that are threatened by impending
> contract expirations. It then lays out a set of principles to guide a
> comprehensive solution.
> The Section 8 program helps low-income households rent privately owned
> housing units. Residents pay approximately 30 percent of their income for
> rent and HUD pays the rest. The program includes two forms of housing
> assistance: tenant-based and project-based. Tenant-based assistance provides
> almost 1.6 families with vouchers that they can take to new rental housing
> if they decide to move. Project-based assistance is tied to specific rental
> housing units occupied by about 1.4 million families.
> Using the latest data on Section 8 expirations, "Opting In" points out that
> during the next 5 years, two-thirds of all project-based Section 8 contracts
> will expire, totaling almost 14,000 properties that contain 1 million
> subsidized housing units. When contracts expire, both HUD and the owner can
> choose not to renew. The majority of properties remain in the program, but
> the latest data show that about 10 percent of owners "opt-out" and convert
> their developments into unsubsidized housing.
> "Opting In" also points out that budget constraints have exacerbated the
> problem by limiting contract renewals to 1 year, which multiplies the number
> of contracts that face expiration each year. This magnifies the uncertainty
> of residents and owners about the security of their housing. HUD protects
> residents in properties that opt out by providing vouchers, which can be
> used (in most areas) to remain in their current units or move to other
> housing. Yet resident can be faced with substantial hikes in the portion of
> the rent they pay, forcing them to move. With the current shortage of
> affordable housing, families who need to move often have limited options.
> The report discusses three reforms which HUD has already begun to implement
> that apply to future renewals of Section 8 contracts:
> *	Subsidize only quality housing. When a contract expires, HUD should
> continue to keep well-maintained properties in the program, but refuse to
> renew properties in poor condition. Contracts with property owners unwilling
> to follow program rules should not be extended.
> *	Pay a fair price. Rents paid by HUD should be based on what a
> property is worth. HUD should not pay an owner more than the property could
> get on the open market, but neither should it expect owners of good housing
> to accept less than a fair price.
> *	Preservation is not enough. Congress and HUD must expand authority
> for vouchers that protect residents from rent hikes in developments that
> opt-out of Section 8. In addition, it must relieve the affordable housing
> crisis by increasing the number of families assisted by the Section 8
> program.
> "Only by preserving the best of project-based Section 8 housing, protecting
> residents in properties that leave the program, and expanding the supply of
> Section 8 vouchers can HUD and Congress fulfill their commitment to the
> Nation's neediest citizens," concludes the report. "In an era of plenty, the
> time to act is now."
> Copies of "Opting In: Renewing America's Commitment to Affordable Housing"
> can be requested from the HUD USER web site at:
> or by contacting HUD
> You can contact us at:
> P.O. Box 6091
> Rockville, MD 20850
> 1-800-245-2691
> 1-800-483-2209 (TDD)
> (301) 519-5767 (fax)
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