Housing

Why and How Congress Should Restore Lost Housing Vouchers

A big question facing the Housing Choice Voucher Program next year is whether policymakers will provide enough funding to restore all 70,000 vouchers lost last year due to the sequestration budget cuts. Given the large and growing need for affordable housing, policymakers need to make this a priority. And, they should accomplish it in ways that also promote other important policy goals, like reducing homelessness, keeping vulnerable families together, and eliminating unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities.

Related: Sequestration's Toll: 70,000 Fewer Low-Income Families Have Housing Vouchers

 

Research Shows Housing Vouchers Reduce Hardship and Provide Platform for Long-Term Gains Among Children

The Housing Choice Voucher program, the nation’s largest rental assistance program, helps more than 2 million low-income families rent modest units of their choice in the private market. Vouchers sharply reduce homelessness and other hardships, lift more than a million people out of poverty, and give families an opportunity to move to safer, less poor neighborhoods.

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Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need

The federal government spent $270 billion in 2012 to help Americans buy or rent homes, but little of that spending went to the families who struggle the most to afford housing. This chart book shows that federal housing expenditures are unbalanced in two respects: they target a disproportionate share of subsidies on higher-income households and they favor homeownership over renting.

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Basics

Policy Basics: Federal Rental Assistance:
Federal rental assistance enables 5 million low-income households to afford modest homes. Three major programs — Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 Project-based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing — assist about 90 percent of these households.

Policy Basics: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance:
The Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs enable more than 2 million people in 1.2 million low-income households to afford modest apartments by contracting with private owners to rent some or all of the units in their housing developments to low-income families.

Policy Basics: The Housing Voucher Choice Program:
Created in the 1970s, the “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher Program has become the dominant form of federal housing assistance.

Policy Basics: Introduction to Public Housing:
Public housing is one of the nation’s three main rental assistance programs. Public housing developments provide affordable homes to 2.2 million low-income Americans.

Featured Experts

  1. Will Fischer

    Will Fischer

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The Center works with state and local housing agencies and advocates to improve the effectiveness of federal low-income housing programs — particularly the Housing Choice Voucher Program.  We also examine the role that well-designed housing assistance programs can play in advancing goals such as reducing the concentration of poverty.

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