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.