U.S. Capitol Building, Washington DCAt RUPCO, we certainly hope this legislation will not pass. The Housing Choice and Project Based Voucher programs, formerly known as Section 8, provide affordable housing to the most vulnerable people in our society. By statute, the program is limited to serving households earning less than 50% of the area median income (AMI) but 75% of the assistance must go to households earning less than 30% AMI. In Ulster County, those incomes limits are based on household size as follows:

Income Qualifications for Ulster County HUD Rental Assistance in Ulster County

Income               1 Person      2 Person     3 Person      4 Person      5 Person      6 Person     7 Person     8 Person
30% of Median  $16,650        $19,000        $21,400        $25,100        $29,420        $33,740        $38,060        $42,380
50% of Median  $27,750        $31,700        $35,650        $39,600        $42,800        $45,950        $49,150        $52,300

• A single person earning 30% AMI or $16,550, paying 30% of their income, would currently pay $416 per month toward their rent and utilities. If this figure was increased to 35% of their income, the rent their payment would increase to $485.

• A senior or disabled person living on the average Social Security Disability Income of $1,197 per month would see their monthly rent go up by $35 that pays for critically needed prescription drugs.

• A single Mom with two kids earning 50% AMI would see their rent payment go from $890 a month to $1,040, an increase of $150 every month. That is equivalent to a car payment to get to work, or a week’s worth of food for her children taken off the table or a big hit to a Mom’s ability to pay for child care.

Today, less than 1 in 4 low- and extremely low-income households in America that desperately need rental assistance receive it. Forty percent (40%) of homeless families are working and people receiving rental assistance that are not elderly or disabled are working too. The proposed changes in the Making Affordable Housing Work Act completely miss the mark and, if passed, would only serve to exacerbate the burdens and struggles of America’s most vulnerable households including seniors, the disabled, and working poor. Given the recent tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy – on top of the already regressive tax breaks provided to high income homeowners for mortgage interest, points and real estate taxes –the question becomes why supports for the bottom end of the income spectrum are being targeted.

RUPCO has been a leader in New York State in moving families through Section 8’s Family Self Sufficiency program and the Section 8 to Homeownership program. We also understand the struggle that those in the middle class face today and we urge consideration for programs that lift all boats by creating affordable housing, producing jobs and provide affordable, quality education, healthcare and access to healthy food. We urge considerations of programs that do not target the lowest income households for cuts but rather provide more opportunity such as the proposed Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act, recently passed by the House.

The House of Representatives passed the “Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018” (H.R. 5793) by a vote of 368-19 on July 10. Representatives Duffy (R-WI) and Cleaver (D-MO) of the House Financial Services Committee introduced the bill, which aims to further improve voucher mobility and help more Housing Choice Voucher households move to communities of their choice, such as areas with access to jobs with decent pay, good schools, transportation, and healthcare. The demonstration will enable HUD and public housing agencies to develop new models for improving voucher mobility as well as provide counseling to help voucher households move to areas of opportunity. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration in committee. NLIHC supports H.R. 5793.  Learn more about the bill at: https://bit.ly/2umUyMN

Additionally, here are links to two of our most important annual housing reports that demonstrate the affordable housing crisis that exists today across our Country:

Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, RUPCO

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