The first proposal, released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this month, would prohibit mixed-status families from living in public or Section 8 housing programs. Yet existing law currently stands that households with at least one U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant are permitted to live in subsidized housing, but the assistance allotment is decreased to account for household members who are ineligible for aid. The newly-proposed law would cut off aid from these households completely, denying housing assistance to immigrants and U.S. citizens who are otherwise eligible for subsidies.
If this rule goes into effect, HUD estimates that 55,000 children and their families throughout the country will be at risk of losing housing assistance and potentially face eviction.
In addition to displacing families, the policy change, if enacted, would increase wait lists since displacing mixed-status families with new households with all eligible members would cost HUD $200 million new dollars, a cost not likely borne by an administration that has repeatedly proposed federal housing program cuts.
The second proposal would reduce protections under the Equal Access Rule for LGBTQ youth and adults seeking emergency shelter services from HUD-funded programs. HUD’s proposed change would allow homelessness service providers that receive federal funding to take “privacy, safety, practical concerns, and religious beliefs” into consideration when determining who they will provide services for, and how those services will be provided.
This rule is expected to disproportionately effect transgender persons, and will create further barriers between the one in five transgender persons will experience homelessness in their lifetime and the basic right of shelter.
By providing millions of dollars in additional funding to address our growing housing crisis, Gov. Doug Ducey and members of the Arizona Legislature have made it clear that investing in affordable housing resources is what our state needs. The enactment of HUD’s proposed rules would divert these funds away from what our locally-elected leaders have allocated them for and put additional stress on working families and individuals seeking life-saving shelter and support services.
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