Home is where we make memories. It's where we raise our kids, dream our dreams, enjoy our retirement. It's where we all, regardless of our race or immigration status, deserve to feel safe and secure. But a new proposal from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would rip home away from tens of thousands of children and their families if allowed to go into effect.
At the direction of the White House, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has issued a proposed rule that would evict existing mixed-status families from Section 8 and public housing. Mixed-status families are made up of people who are both eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status.
Under current law, a mixed-status family's housing subsidy is decreased so ineligible individuals do not receive assistance. Being an ineligible immigrant is not the same as being an undocumented immigrant. There are many immigrants with legal status, such as those with employment or work visas, who do not qualify for HUD-assisted housing.
What Is Being Proposed
There is no public policy reason for this proposal. It is a cruel, xenophobic attempt to push over 100,000 people, including 55,000 children with legal status, out of their homes, leaving them at risk of homelessness.
The law already prohibits HUD funds from supporting the housing costs of ineligible immigrants. Right now, a family's rent subsidy or voucher amount is calculated only for the eligible household members, which means mixed-status families are already more rent-burdened than other families in subsidized housing.
For example, if a mom on a student visa and her three children are living in public housing, the subsidy only accounts for the three children. However, the mother is allowed to live in the apartment — unsubsidized.
The new proposal would force families to make the impossible decision of either breaking up to ensure eligible family members can continue to receive assistance or staying together and facing eviction and potentially homelessness.
This plan would cost HUD money and result in fewer people receiving housing assistance during the largest affordable housing crisis in generations.
This is because mixed-status families pay higher rents than families where all family members are eligible for a subsidy. HUD's own analysis shows that if this rule went into effect, it would cost up to $227 million per year in lost revenue. This cost does not take into account the added costs of increased homelessness or the incalculable cost to the families' own health and wellbeing.
HUD's own analysis shows that they have no plan to account for the loss of revenue by any means other than cutting the number of total vouchers, allowing units to go deeper into disrepair, and/or reducing the number of public housing units.
What You Need to Know
This is only a proposed rule and may never become a HUD policy. No one should leave or prepare to leave their homes out of fear of a rule that may never actually come to pass.
You can have your voice heard in this process. HUD is collecting public comment. Visit allianceforhousingjustice.org/hud-mixed-status-rule to see sample comment language that was submitted.