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Rental Housing News

June 1996

Page 4

One Strike, You're Out

A new compact between government and families will be implemented by HUD to require responsibility from people who need and receive benefits. For example, exemplary tenants will be rewarded with better housing, and fathers must participate in their families in order to receive benefits such as HUD employment and training programs. Housing authorities will establish tougher eviction rules, including "one strike and you're out" policies for residents engaged in illegal activities.

"That rhetoric sounds great but unless public housing cooperates with private landlords in tenant screening, the problems will just move over to neighborhoods," said Port Huron, Michigan Councilman Clifford Schrader. HUD wants to continue the transformation of public housing that is now underway; extend that transformation to other assisted housing programs, including Section 8; and expand support for activities that increase the supply of affordable housing. One step in that transformation is the creation of three Public Housing Performance Based Funds.

In further attempts to justify the existence of their programs to a Republican Congress, HUD will seek a single Public Housing Operating Fund that will consolidate programs such as drug elimination grants, service coordinators, and operating subsidies.

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(They want all current eligible uses of these funds will permitted, in addition to expended anti-crime activities.) Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) want to hold their bureaucracies together too so they have asked for the flexibility to emulate private landlords in attracting a broader range of families; set their own preference rules for admission to housing; encourage working families to stay in public housing. HUD officials who support PHAs want to offer bonuses to those who score exceptionally well under their new evaluation system.

The new Public Housing Capital Fund will be similar to the current modernization program. HUD again will propose consolidating multiple programs into one consolidated fund by fiscal 1998 to allow PHAs to upgrade their housing units that are still viable and demolish and replace buildings that are beyond repair. The Housing Section 8 Certificate Fund will be HUDs principal tool for addressing the primary causes of severe housing problems: Lagging household incomes and high housing costs. The Certificate Fund will build upon the existing voucher and certificate programs but include changes to make the system simpler and more effective.

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