HUD Plan Would Raise Rent For Poor By 20 Percent

Posted at 8:28 AM, Jun 15, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson says his latest proposal to raise rent would mean a path toward self-sufficiency for millions of low-income households across the United States by pushing more people to find work. 

For Angela Wesson and her three daughters, it could mean homelessness.

Wesson has lived at the Cumberland View Apartments in North Nashville for seven years on a fixed income. 

As Nashville's population grows, keeping up with rising costs can challenge many people.

The federal proposal looks to raise the rent of affordable housing residents from 30 percent of their income to 35 percent. 

One analysis showed that in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, low-income tenants -- many of whom have jobs -- would have to pay roughly 20 percent more each year for rent under the plan.

For Tennesseans like Wesson, their rent would increase by 23 percent which would be about $840. 

"We need more pay and it's like how do you ask a person with multiple kids... every day is a sacrifice. This is something that every family is going to have to figure out. Whether they're a single mom, they're a single dad [they] are going to have to figure that out," she said.

Secretary Carson said the proposal will not effect the elderly or disabled.

Wesson says she prays that the proposal will not pass.

"I don't want people just think because we live in public housing that we're just back here doing nothing because it's a lot of us that work. We have jobs, they go to school. We're trying," she said.

The 39-year-old mother says if passed, the proposal would cause her not to pay some bills on time and would slow her down from one day owning her own home. 

Roughly 4 million low-income households receiving HUD assistance would be affected by the proposal. HUD estimates that about 2 million would be affected immediately, while the other 2 million would see rent increases phased in after six years.

The proposal, which needs congressional approval, is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to scale back the social safety net, under the belief that charging more for rent will prompt those receiving federal assistance to enter the workforce and earn more income.

“It’s our attempt to give poor people a way out of poverty,” Carson said in a recent interview with Fox News.