Federal public housing plan could affect thousands in Tri-State

Posted at 5:12 PM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 17:32:09-04

CINCINNATI -- Thousands of Tri-State residents could be impacted by a proposal from the Housing and Urban Development secretary to raise rents for people living in federally subsidized housing across the country.

Under the plan, the minimum monthly rent would increase from $50 to $150, and people paying an income-based rent would see an increase from 30 percent to 35 percent. HUD Secretary Ben Carson unveiled the plan in Washington Wednesday. 

"The way we calculate the level of assistance to our families is archaic and has perverse consequences, like discouraging these residents from earning more income," Carson told the Associated Press. "It's clear from a budget perspective and from a human standpoint that this is not sustainable."

The proposal would also make it easier for the nation's 3,100 housing authorities to impose work requirements in exchange for benefits.

In Avondale, Stephen Sanders is the president of The President apartments resident council. He said he worked as an electrician for years, until he suffered several strokes and lost his job. He's been in affordable housing for eight years.

"It's been tough, but it's been manageable," he said.

Sanders said the proposal is unsettling.

"As hard as it would be for me, it would be really crippling to someone else," he said. "It's just me, all I have to worry about is me. Anybody that has dependents, it would be really tough for them."

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1.7 million people, including 1 million children, could face eviction and even homelessness if the proposal were passed.

"It's frustrating," Sanders said. "I always think about, if one thing goes wrong, the whole bottom will fall out."