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HUD May Create Work Requirements For Housing Aid Recipients, Raise Rents

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development may introduce stricter standards for those receiving housing aid, according to a drafted bill obtained by CityLab.

Under the proposed changes, public housing agencies could require proof of employment and set requirements such as recipients must work up to 32 hours per week in order to qualify.

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The proposed amendment aligns with the new administration's push to administer "tough love" to housing aid recipients, as expressed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson after receiving his nomination from President Donald Trump for the Cabinet position.

This is not the first time HUD has introduced programs that allow low-income housing providers in certain markets to create work requirements. Moving To Work, a program still on trial, allows a selection of housing agencies to incrementally raise rates under certain circumstances. That extra money goes back into funding the program. The newly drafted bill would allow landlords to pocket the different. 

The proposed changes have garnered a lot of criticism from housing advocates wary the new legislation will negatively impact the elderly, disabled and low-income residents — a large number of whom receive housing subsidies.

The draft bill also outlined potential rent increases for about 4 million households receiving aid. Rent hikes could be problematic given the shortage of affordable housing in many cities, critic argue, adding that it could further exacerbate the country's homeless crisis. More than 550,000 people slept on the streets each night in 2017, an increase of 0.7% from the year prior.

"[Work requirements] do not create the jobs with decent pay and opportunities needed to lift people out of poverty," National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel said in a statement. "Instead, imposing such requirements could cut struggling families off from the very housing stability and services that make it possible for them to find and maintain work."