Thousands of Low-income Families to Lose Housing Assistance Under Bush Budget Plan

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Thousands of Low-income Families to Lose Housing Assistance Under Bush Budget Plan

InsideCapitolDome
Nearly 2,200 low-income families in Portland and thousands of others around Oregon could lose their federal housing assistance in the next five years under cuts proposed by the Bush Administration, according to new data released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of Low-income Families to Lose Housing Assistance Under Bush Budget Plan

Nearly 2,200 low-income families in Portland and thousands of others around Oregon could lose their federal housing assistance in the next five years under cuts proposed by the Bush Administration, according to new data released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington, D.C.

“The Bush Administration’s proposed cuts would make it substantially more difficult for thousands of low-income families in Oregon to keep their families stable and move into the economic mainstream,” said Michael Leachman, policy analyst at the Oregon Center for Public Policy, who reviewed the report.

Download a copy of this news release:

Thousands of Low-income Families to Lose Housing Assistance Under Bush Budget Plan (PDF), March 17, 2004.


Related Materials:

Download the news release from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (PDF).

Download the methodology from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (PDF).

Download the Oregon data from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (PDF).

The President’s budget for fiscal year 2005 calls for cutting the voucher program by over $1.6 billion next year, with the size of the cut reaching $4.6 billion, or 30 percent, by 2009. These draconian cuts to the nation’s main housing assistance program would present housing agencies in Oregon with two unappealing options: drop families from the voucher program or raise the amount that voucher holders pay.

“If Oregon received a proportional share of the cuts nationally and Oregon housing agencies chose to implement the cuts by dropping families from the program,” said Leachman, “over 9,200 fewer Oregon families would receive vouchers five years from now.” Given the current distribution of vouchers, the CBPP estimates that nearly 2,200 families in Portland would lose benefits and the number of recipients in communities across Oregon would decline by nearly 30 percent (Table 1).

If the agencies chose to raise the amounts that recipients have to pay, the average recipient in Oregon would be paying nearly $1,600 more annually. Rent increases would vary by community and would be about $2,200 in Washington County and nearly $1,800 in Central Oregon (Table 1).

Under the current program, low-income families use housing vouchers to find a modest rental unit in the private marketplace. The family typically pays no more than 30 percent of the rent, and the federal government pays the rest. The families benefiting from the current program generally fall below the federal poverty level; under current rules at least 75 percent of newly admitted recipients must have incomes less than 30 percent of the housing area’s median income.

“The Bush Administration’s proposal would both force drastic cuts in the program and substantially alter its basic structure,” said Leachman. The Administration would turn the program into a block grant with few federal rules, “likely producing a confusing range of program rules across the country,” according to Leachman. The Administration would also eliminate the rule requiring 75 percent of new recipients to have incomes less than 30 percent of area median income, eliminating the program’s focus on helping low-income families.

“The Administration’s proposal would dramatically alter the nation’s major low-income housing assistance program,” said Leachman. “If the proposal passes, communities across Oregon will experience considerable suffering.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ analysis accompanies a press release embargoed until 12 Noon (PT) entitled, “Many Low-Income Families Would Lose Federal Housing Assistance Under Proposed Funding Cuts.”

Table 1: Estimates of cuts to Oregon housing agencies
under President’s budget

Housing Agency

# Vouchers as of July 2003

Reduction in Number of Families Assisted by 2009

OR Average Increase in Annual Rent by 2009

Central OR Regional HA 1,003 292 $1,770
Coos Curry HA 725 211 $1,363
HA and Urban Renewal Agency of Polk 699 203 $1,811
HA of Clackamas County 1,497 435 $2,142
HA of Douglas County 650 189 $1,235
HA of Jackson County 1,414 411 $1,559
HA of Lincoln County 487 142 $1,370
HA of Portland* 7,496 2,181 $1,467
HA of Yamhill County 1,289 375 $1,914
Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County 2,598 756 $1,754
Josephine Housing Council 827 241 $1,267
Klamath HA 734 214 $1,291
Linn-Benton HA 2,381 693 $1,689
Malheur County HA 339 99 $1,353
Marion County HA 1,168 340 $1,404
Mid Columbia HA 822 239 $1,349
NE Oregon HA 710 207 $1,314
NW Oregon HA 1,075 313 $1,691
Salem HA 2,842 827 $1,581
Siletz Indian HA 37 11 $2,346
Umatilla County HA 329 96 $1,188
Washington County HA 2,535 737 $2,235
Totals 31,657 9,212  
Average rent increase     $1,595
  • The Portland Housing Authority participates in the Moving to Work demonstration and receives voucher funding according to different rules from those that govern other agencies. Data on the number of current voucher recipients in Portland was estimated by CBPP using a method different from that used for other agencies.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Oregon Center for Public Policy uses research and analysis to advance policies and practices that improve the economic and social prospects of low- and moderate-income Oregonians, the majority of Oregonians.

 

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