In a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) charged that HUD's recent notice implementing changes to the Section 8 voucher program will result in a lack of funding for all of the existing Section 8 vouchers. Nadler, who led the Congressional effort last year that resulted in an additional $1 billion to fund all existing vouchers for this year, charged that HUD's change in implementation betrays the commitment made by Congress to fully fund Section 8 vouchers in the VA/HUD spending bill for 2004.
"Cuts in Section 8 vouchers will land families out on the street," said Nadler. "I urge HUD to immediately reverse its changes to the Section 8 voucher program and honor the funding appropriated by Congress."
The text of Nadler's letter follows:
April 30, 2004
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410
Dear Secretary Jackson:
I am alarmed that last week HUD issued a Notice implementing changes to the Section 8 voucher program that seems to indicate that funding will not be available for all of the existing Section 8 vouchers.
It appears from the Notice that there will be deep cuts in Section 8 vouchers for fiscal year 2004 that could land families out on the streets. To be specific, it appears that a significant number of housing agencies may not be reimbursed for the full cost of the vouchers they administer, which may further result in vouchers being taken away from families that now have them or in subsidy levels being reduced for families with vouchers.
I believe this is a betrayal of the commitment we obtained last year in the Fiscal Year 2004 VA-HUD appropriations bill to fund all existing vouchers in 2004. Last year, I led the effort in the House to urge the VA-HUD conferees to "support full funding for the Section 8 housing choice voucher program." Our letter was signed by 110 Members of Congress from both political parties and included the Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. In the end, the final version of the appropriations bill included language requiring the Secretary of HUD to renew expiring Section 8 tenant-based annual contributions contracts for each public housing agency and provided for an inflation factor based on local or regional factors. We were assured that enough funding was provided to ensure that all vouchers would be renewed and that the number of assisted families would not be reduced. We expect nothing less today.
The HUD Notice appears to be an unprecedented attack on American families, which cannot be allowed to stand. I have already heard from numerous constituents who are very worried by this latest development and fear their housing could be taken away from them. New York City officials have told me that they could face a funding shortfall of $55 million as a result of this Notice.
It is HUD's responsibility to honor the commitment made to people who receive Section 8 vouchers and who rely on them in order to remain in their homes. It is imperative that we preserve the stability of families in the Section 8 program and safeguard the integrity of the governmental promise made to them. I urge you to use the discretion granted to you by the law to fully fund all existing vouchers.
Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss this matter further.
Member of Congress
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