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Section 8 Housing Voucher Program No. 179

Adopted 2004
Amended 2005

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is the largest low-income housing assistance program in effect. Currently, 2 million low-income households have been able to receive assistance in acquiring housing through the market.

In recent years, the cost of housing has skyrocketed. This has amplified the gap between the wealthiest and poorest citizens of our nation; this disparity has always been a deep concern of ADA. While Section 8 housing is important, there are discrepancies in the system which adversely affect the rightful recipients. Of the households that qualify for federal assistance, approximately 30% actually receive Section 8 vouchers. In addition to this, the waiting period for the vouchers can be as long as 5 to 10 years. A housing shortage, as well as discrimination, have played a role in these startling numbers.

Despite research done by the Department of Housing and Urban Development showing that the number of people with housing problems has increased, the President's fiscal year 2005 budget would cut $1 billion from the Housing Voucher Program.

The Administration's proposal would convert the voucher program into a block grant to state and local housing agencies. This would end basic protections for low-income families including the following:

  1. Vouchers would not be required to go to extremely low-income people.

  2. The rule limiting rent to 30% of tenant's income would be eliminated.

  3. Families currently using Section 8 would not be guaranteed assistance under the new program.

  4. Local public housing authorities would receive financial rewards for moving people off the voucher program.

As a result of these changes, approximately 250,000 households would be cut from the program, despite the fact that already too few households are being served. Public Housing authorities would be forced to raise rents by an average of $850 in 2005 and $2,000 more by 2009.

ADA supports the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, as housing is a basic human need that has impacts on health, education, and employment.

ADA supports the passage of federal legislation prohibiting landlords from refusing to rent to people on the basis of their using Section 8 vouchers to pay their rent.

ADA opposes the President's cut to the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, as it will displace more low-income households and counteract the gains many people have made through the program.

ADA maintains the importance of the Section 8 Housing Program as a way to ensure that affordable housing is available for all people whatever their economic status.

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No. 179
Social and Domestic Policy Commission