HUD Proposal Would Increase Residents’ Rents

The U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) is circulating a proposal to change how residents’ rents are calculated in all HUD-assisted housing programs. 

“We were shocked to see rent increases targeting HUD’s lowest income senior residents in a draft proposal charged with creating ‘quality affordable homes for all’ as well as in a draft bill circulating from a member of Congress. Increasing rents, including rents for the very lowest income seniors, will do much more harm than good,” said Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge, President and CEO. 

HUD’s fiscal year 2019 budget request presumes Congress will enact HUD’s rent reform proposals, which raise rents on residents and would allow owners and public housing authorities to impose work requirements on non-elderly and non-disabled households. Without the revenue raised by enacting the rent reform proposal, HUD’s fiscal year 2019 budget request will be insufficient to renew rental assistance contracts for existing federally-assisted homes. 

There is some support for these efforts in the House, but it’s unclear if there’s sufficient support to move any proposals out of committee. There is far less support for these efforts in the Senate. 

What is the Impact of Rent Reform on Seniors?

  • Reforms applies to all HUD programs, which serve 1.5 million senior households.
  • Moves rent structure to 30 percent of gross income or a $50 minimum rent, whichever is greater.
  • Eliminates all deductions, including those for high medical expenses and for being a senior.
  • Impacts newly-assisted seniors the first day after enactment but currently-assisted seniors would not see rent changes for six years, meaning owners would have to maintain two sets of rent-settings rules.
  • Redefines “elderly” to bring people age 62 to 65 years into the even higher rent schemes proposed by the bill as well as the work requirements that would be established for non-seniors and non-persons with disabilities.
  • Redefines “elderly household” so that everyone in the household, except a caregiver, would have to be at least 65 years old.
  • Applies the new definition of “elderly” to rent setting, interim income recertifications and work requirements, but not program eligibility.

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