Reports + Articles


Sequestration Impacts Low Income Renters Hard

As a result of sequestration HUD estimates 140,000 fewer low-income families may receive housing vouchers and many current voucher holders will pay higher rents. A new paper by Doug Rice, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), focuses on the impacts sequestration has on low income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

According to Rice half of the households in the voucher program are seniors or people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, the rest are families with children. These households typically have incomes well below the poverty line and cannot afford housing without assistance.

The across the board budget cuts come at a time when the number of low-income households in need of housing assistance has been rising substantially. HUD’s 2011 Worst Case Housing Report due out next month shows the number of renters with incomes below 50 percent of the median income paying more than half of their income for housing or who live in severely substandard housing, has risen by 43 percent since 2007, to 8.5 million households.

Currently 1 in 4 eligible households receives a voucher or some other form of federal rental assistance and the average household income for these households is just $12,500 - just 19% of area median incomes and well below the poverty line of about $18,000 for a family of three.

The cuts under sequestration will contribute to further losses of public housing and make fewer vouchers available as public housing agencies take vouchers out of circulation in response to funding cuts.

Read Doug Rice’s paper here on the CBPP website.

Locally, Home Forward, the public housing agency whose jurisdiction includes Portland and Multnomah County, estimates available vouchers for the rest of the year may be reduced by as many as 600 as returned vouchers are put on the shelf. In an effort to respond to reduced federal funding both voucher holders and residents in public housing will experience an increase in their rent. Learn more about Home Forward’s response to sequestration on their website here.

— Posted on 4/10/2013