Entitlement to Housing Legislation Introduced

Legislation | July 16, 2021 | by Linda Couch

Legislation to create the first ever entitlement to housing assistance was introduced on July 16 by House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2021, would fund hundreds of thousands of new Housing Choice Vouchers over the next several years and make access to these vouchers automatic for income-qualifying households.

Legislation to create the first ever entitlement to housing assistance was introduced on July 16 by House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2021, would fund hundreds of thousands of new Housing Choice Vouchers over the next several years and make access to these vouchers automatic for income-qualifying households.

“All in all, this bill is projected to fund the creation of 410,000 new units of housing for people experiencing homelessness and effectively end widespread homelessness and housing instability. Columbia University researchers also project that this bill would lift 9 million people out of poverty, reduce child poverty by over a third, and decrease racial disparities in poverty rates among Black and White households,” a bill summary from the Committee says.

The bill authorizes HUD to allocate 500,000 vouchers in fiscal year 2022, and allocate one million vouchers in each calendar year from 2023 through 2025. Beginning in fiscal year 2026, households meeting certain income thresholds will be entitled to receive a housing choice voucher.

The bill would prohibit landlords from discriminating against renting to voucher holders, would allow an unlimited number of the vouchers to be project-based, and would require public housing agencies administering the vouchers to use small area Fair Market Rents to determine the value of the vouchers.

LeadingAge has enthusiastically endorsed this bill.

The text of the bill is here.