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Federal Ruling Opens Up Higher Income Neighborhoods To Low-Income Renters

by Countable | 1.4.18

What’s the story?

A federal judge has ruled that the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency must enforce a 2016 rule allowing low-income renters with Section 8 housing vouchers to rent in higher income neighborhoods. The administration has sought a two year delay in implementing the rule, according to the Washington Post.

Historically, the amount of a Section 8 voucher is based on the average rent for an entire municipality, making higher income neighborhoods with better schools, lower crime rates and better job opportunities out of reach for low-income renters. This contributes to economic and racial segregation, preventing low-income families from providing children with access to the kinds of resources that can lift them out of poverty as adults.

The new rule, which will affect 23 municipalities nationwide who were deemed to exhibit particularly concentrated poverty, went into effect as of January 1 based on the judge’s decision.

Housing authorities will now have to redistribute the value of Section 8 vouchers based on zip code. Higher income neighborhoods will receive higher valued vouchers, and lower income neighborhoods will receive lower valued vouchers.

Opponents of the rule fear it will lead to disinvestment in inner city neighborhoods, while supporters of the rule argue it will expand equal opportunity to all aspects of American life, and elevate, specifically, the lives of more than 200,000 families across the country.

Renters with Section 8 vouchers will still have to find landlords willing to accept the federal subsidies. Most municipalities do not prevent housing discrimination based on means of payment.

What do you think?

Do you support this rule change for the valuation of federal housing vouchers as a way to combat concentrated poverty and help families or do you think it will create unintended consequences either for low-income communities or the higher income communities families can now move to?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons )

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