Funding for Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program: Congressional Talking Points

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Advocacy Resource | September 25, 2013

Files: Section 8-VASH Talking Points (PDF | 476 KB | 1 page)

Talking Points:

The across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” caused 70,000 fewer families to receive vouchers nationally by the end of 2013 compared with a year earlier. Congress provided enough funding in 2014 to restore fewer than half of these lost vouchers, but the FY 2015 Senate and House Transportation-HUD spending bills won’t even renew all of the vouchers restored in 2014, locking in the sequestration cuts for years to come.

• These cuts hurt individuals, families, and communities.
o Families with children are spending longer periods in homeless shelters, or doubled up with friends and family. 
 Homelessness, overcrowding, and housing instability have been linked to a wide-range of adverse outcomes for children, including increased cognitive, physical, and mental health problems, and poor school performance.
o Fewer vouchers are available for supportive housing, threatening to stall or even reverse progress on reducing chronic and veteran homelessness.
o Local waitlists for vouchers are years or even a decade long.

Housing Choice Vouchers are a vital resource for vulnerable households.
o Housing Choice Vouchers sharply reduce homelessness and housing instability.
o Nearly all households using Housing Choice Vouchers include children or people who are elderly or disabled.
o More than 300,000 veterans use vouchers or other rental assistance programs. Only a small share use vouchers targeted to homeless veterans known as “HUD-VASH.”

• Congress should provide sufficient funding to renew all vouchers in use in 2014 –– which will require more funds than the House and Senate bills now propose –– and include an additional $320 million in the FY 2015 funding level for HUD for 40,000 targeted vouchers to restore the remaining losses due to sequestration cuts.

• These 40,000 vouchers should be targeted toward vulnerable households for whom Housing Choice Vouchers are essential to maintain safe, decent, and stable housing:
o $240 million for 30,000 vouchers to house homeless or at-risk individuals or families with children, or, as part of the Family Unification Program, to enable children to live with their families rather than in foster care.
o $40 million for 5,000 vouchers to help reduce unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities, in compliance with the Olmstead v. L.C. US Supreme Court decision.
o $40 million for 5,000 “tenant protection” vouchers to enable victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence who live in public housing or federally subsidized privately-owned housing to relocate quickly and safely, as Congress directed in last year’s reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

• I hope that you will work with your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to provide enough funding to cover renewals of all existing vouchers, recover the approximately 40,000 vouchers lost by sequestration, and add 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers.