Ben Carson said his proposed legislation to overhaul rent rates – raising them – is the key to addressing the shortage in housing and federal assistance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary told the Washington Examiner.
Carson’s position is that by changing the standards that disincentivize people to work, folks will come off the rolls of federal assistance, creating space for other folks to take their place.
“That’s just as effective as building more housing for more people,” Carson told the Examiner.
Carson announced his “Making Affordable Housing Work Act” last week, a bill that would rework how rent is calculated, raising rents and affect more than 4.5 million beneficiaries of federal assistance, the Examiner reports.
It was not well-received.
“The biggest group affected by the minimum rent increase are families with kids,” Barbara Sard, former HUD senior adviser for rental assistance, told The Washington Post. “It is the most unfair and most harmful. It’s where the dangers of eviction and homelessness are the gravest.”
A major staple of Carson’s proposal is using a three-year rolling scale of income to calculate rents instead of yearly, which would mitigate rent increases as beneficiaries make more money or get married and add a second income, he told the Examiner.
That would help offset the raising rent minimums from $50 a month to $150, Carson said.
Carson’s bill would also give states the latitude to tinker with rent rates, including adding work requirements for people in low-income housing.
“This is the way we’ve done it for decades, and as a result of that, our poverty level has not gone down,” Carson told the Examiner.
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