CLPHA supports the nation’s largest and most innovative housing authorities by advocating for the resources and policies they need to solve local housing challenges and create communities of opportunity. We frequently champion our members' issues, needs, and successes on the Hill, at HUD, and in the media. In these arenas CLPHA also advocates for legislation and policies that help our members, and the public and affordable housing industry as a whole, strengthen neighborhoods and improve lives.
Click below for links to congressional testimonies, statements for the record, action alerts, comments to HUD and other federal agencies, and the latest information about CLPHA's multi-pronged housing advocacy.
On May 21, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, testified before the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing entitled “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Development” where he received pointed questions from the committee Democrats on recent HUD proposals such as rent reform, the non-citizen rule, and HUD’s FY20 budget request which would slash funding for public housing.
In her opening remarks, Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) expressed her disappointment in the Secretary’s leadership at HUD, referring to his rent reform proposal as an “outrageous plan” that would “triple rent for the lowest income households and put 1.7 million Americans at risk of eviction and homelessness at a time when we are in the midst of a national homelessness and housing affordability crisis.”
Waters also admonished the Secretary for the Department’s budget proposal that would cut its budget by 18 percent and eliminate new funding for the capital fund and housing trust fund, halt the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule implementation, and delay disaster recovery funding for Puerto Rico. Referring to the proposed non-citizen rule as “cruel” and one that, “puts mixed immigration status families at risk of being evicted, separated, and left homeless,” Waters concluded that these actions are inconsistent with the Department’s mission.
Continuing the focus on recent HUD proposals, several Democrats expressed their outrage to Carson over the rent reform and non-citizen proposals. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), were among those who challenged the Department’s assertion that removing mixed-status families from HUD-assisted housing would reduce waiting lists and help address the lack of affordable housing.
Carson defended the proposed rule by stating that the current interpretation of the statute unfairly allows undocumented immigrants to live in federally assisted housing at the expense of U.S. citizens. “It’s not that we’re cruel or mean-hearted, it’s that we’re logical,” he said. “This is common sense. You take care of your own first.”
Velazquez also reproved Carson for acknowledging the affordable housing crisis while at the same time eliminating the capital fund, referring to HUD’s budget proposal as “shameful and immoral.”
In contrast to the frustrated tone of their colleagues, Republican committee members generally expressed support for Carson’s proposals and asked about issues such as impediments to affordable housing construction, opportunity zones, recent changes to FHA loan program rules, and disaster recovery.
When discussing options for increasing affordable housing production, Secretary Carson touted LIHTC, RAD, and the potential for combining those programs with opportunity zone tax incentives to engage in unprecedented opportunities to build affordable housing and create economic opportunities. Calling RAD one of the most spectacular HUD programs, he said that lifting the RAD cap would be tremendously helpful.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Rep. Al Green (D-TX) both raised concerns with the cumbersome CDBG-DR disbursement process and asked the Secretary what could be done to provide, or codify, a framework that would speed delivery of aid to areas impacted by natural disasters. In his response, the Secretary expressed concerns with the duplicative requirements across HUD and FEMA and said that there are ways to streamline the process that can, and should, be codified to ensure grant dollars can be disbursed more expediently.
Several committee members focused their questions on Housing Choice Vouchers and landlords’ unwillingness to consider applicants who use them. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) asked the Secretary whether a federal law prohibiting source of income discrimination is needed to increase lease-up rates and ensure that families can put their voucher to use. Carson responded that the Department is looking at impediments to people accepting vouchers, and if after going through that evaluation process the problem continues, then a federal source of income discrimination law may be needed.
When asked about his legacy at HUD, Secretary Carson said that he hoped the Department would be known for putting people on a positive trajectory. And, if given a magic wand to implement any policy possible, Carson said he would “make this country stop hating each other. We’d get a whole lot done.”
FY20 Funding Bill from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Includes Robust Funding Increases and Legislative Language to Prevent HUD from Evicting Mixed-Status Immigrant Families
WASHINGTON (May 22, 2019) - In preparation for a subcommittee markup on the morning of May 23, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) today released their FY20 funding bill. According to the subcommittee proposal, the discretionary funding level for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) totals $50.1 billion, an increase of $5.9 billion above the FY19 enacted level, and $13.4 billion above President Trump’s request.
The Executive Director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Sunia Zaterman, issued the following statement in support of the bill:
“In a familiar pattern and reprise of repudiating Trump Administration budget proposals, the House THUD budget reflects Congress’ continuing commitment to fund critically important housing and community development programs the Administration proposed rescinding, cutting, or eliminating in its budget request.
“CLPHA is pleased that under the leadership of THUD Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the THUD proposal increases – in several instances substantially increases – or level funds programs critical to communities served by public housing authorities.
“In addition to robust funding increases, such as the doubling of Choice Neighborhoods to $300 million and fully funding the Section 8 account, the proposal includes legislative language to prevent HUD from evicting mixed-status immigrant families from public housing, and to prohibit HUD from unilaterally changing the public housing annual contributions contract without public input and following the administrative procedures act process. Importantly, mandatory rent increases and work requirements were not included in the subcommittee’s bill.
“We applaud the subcommittee for its ongoing commitment to public and affordable housing and look forward to working with the Chair and Ranking Member in support of this bill.”
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities is a national non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education. CLPHA’s 70 members represent virtually every major metropolitan area in the country. Together they manage 40 percent of the nation’s public housing program; administer more than a quarter of the Housing Choice Voucher program; and operate a wide array of other housing programs. Learn more at clpha.org and on Twitter @CLPHA and follow @housing_is for news on CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative to better intersect the housing field and other areas of critical importance such as health and education.
More members of Congress and public housing authorities are speaking out against a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that would disallow undocumented immigrants from living in federally subsidized housing.
Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 2763 last week to block HUD’s proposed rule from going into effect. “The cruelty of the proposed HUD rule is truly remarkable, even by the standards of this Administration,” said Congresswoman Garcia. “Secretary Carson has chosen politics over people with the end result of forcing US children to be separated from their families or risk homelessness.”
Speaking in support of the bill, Houston Housing Authority President and CEO Tory Gunsolley stated, “HUD's new proposed regulation would force housing authorities across the nation to serve as an extension of immigration enforcement instead of focusing on our real purpose- to provide safe, quality and affordable housing to low-income families, seniors, veterans and those with disabilities. Existing HUD regulations already ensure that undocumented immigrants in mixed-immigrant status families don't receive housing subsidies."
Also in Texas, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) submitted a resolution to its Board objecting to the rule that would impact more than 50 families served by HACA and result in families being displaced. According to the resolution, implementation of the rule could result in current housing authority residents becoming homeless, which would also put additional strain on the Austin Police Department and City of Austin resources that assist the homeless population.
HACA’s resolution explicitly states its opposition to the proposed ruled change that is “unnecessarily cruel to current residents and their families.”
HACA also encourages the public and staff to submit public comments in opposition to the proposed rule during the comment period.
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles joined with Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and several other members of the Los Angeles Congressional delegation in a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson urging HUD to withdraw its rule. “The proposed rule is an unconscionable ploy by the administration to carry out its anti-immigrant agenda at the expense of thousands of families,” said Rep. Barragán. “Instead of addressing the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and across the country, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is admittingly attempting to put thousands of families, many with children who are U.S. citizens, onto the streets. I’m proud to lead Members of the Los Angeles Congressional delegation in speaking out and fighting against this cruel proposal.”
“Nearly one in three HACLA residents residing in public housing live in “mixed families” and the vast majority of them are children who are US citizens,” said HACLA President and CEO Doug Guthrie. “Combined with Section 8 housing assistance the proposed rule by HUD would throw 11,600 of our neediest residents out of their homes and, more than likely, onto the street; adding to the already chronic homeless situation in Los Angeles.”
Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) Executive Director Mike Johnston told Cambridge Day that 59 families with 196 members could be affected by HUD’s proposed non-citizen rule. Of the total, 68 are undocumented. “We’re 100 percent against this and [the] rationale for doing it makes no sense whatsoever,” he said in an email.
According to the article, Johnston said the housing authority intends to send a letter this week to families that could be affected, “informing them that there is a proposed change but emphasizing that it is not yet in effect,” and that officials “hope that it is never implemented.”
“We don’t want these families to move out because of fear,” he said.
CHA is working with city officials, lawmakers and with national low-income housing organizations to help mobilize opposition to the proposal, Johnston said.
CLPHA will host a member call on June 6 at 2:00 PM ET to solicit member feedback in advance of submitting public comments in opposition to the proposal. More details on the call are coming soon.
Read CLPHA’s media statement expressing strong opposition to HUD’s proposed rule.
Secretary Carson was the sole witness during the House Financial Services Committee May 21 hearing, “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” Watch a webcast recording of the hearing.