Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in menu_set_active_trail() (line 2405 of /home/customer/www/

$1.25 Billion 5 Year Plan To Displace The Poor

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 4:18pm
Press Release

HUD's proposals to create the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative program to replace the Hope VI program, is moving forward quickly.

The HOPE VI program has demolished around 155,000 public housing units since 1993, and only around 50,000 demolished units have been replaced with new public housing units.

The Obama administration & HUD is planning a new all out assault (5 year $1.25 billion plan) on poor neighborhoods across the nation, to displace the poor.

The latest proposals are showing that they want to use the $1.25 billion under a new program being proposed called the "Choice Neighborhoods Initiative," and for profit developers as well as so-called no profit developers will have access to this new program being proposed.

The new program would be like "Hope VI" on steroids...

I sent out information about "CNI" during the past year, and more details have been turning up lately.

It's not enough for them to go after and displace the poor in public housing, they now openly want to have a full blown assault (5 year plan) on low-income neighborhoods across the nation.

As for the current Section 8 funding crisis, the latest plan is to grab $200 million from the FY 2010 Section 8 budget, to remedy the situation for FY 2009.

It's been a two fold assault on the poor all along. Phase 1 is to push the poor out of public housing by demanding they accept Section 8 vouchers. Phase 2 of the plan is to under fund the Section 8 voucher program, once public housing tenants give up their public housing units or rights as public housing tenants.

Life for the poor under the Obama Administration  is turning out as bad or worse, as it was under the Bush Administration.

Things look grim.

Lynda Carson

See more below...

From: Received from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) on October 5, 2009.

***News of Choice Neighborhoods Proposal Emerges

NLIHC has gathered new information on HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) proposal, which the Administration envisions as the next iteration of the HOPE VI severely distressed public housing revitalization program. CNI program goals were described by HUD officials in a July 8 listening session on CNI. NLIHC understands that the details are reflected in a draft proposal.

Under the draft proposal, HUD would request $250 million a year for each of the next five years for the CNI program. While HOPE VI provides grants to public housing agencies to redevelop public housing, CNI grants would fund transformation plans in neighborhoods of extreme poverty with both severely distressed housing and the potential for long-term viability. Eligible grantees would be housing agencies, assisted housing owners, nonprofit and for-profit developers and governments, according to earlier discussions with HUD officials.

A troubling provision of the draft initiative, as NLIHC understands it, is a requirement that only half of all public and assisted housing units lost during a neighborhood’s redevelopment with CNI funds must be replaced with new public or assisted housing units. In areas where there is an adequate supply of rental housing in low poverty neighborhoods, up to half of the units lost could be replaced with housing choice vouchers. Given each community’s pressing need for housing affordable to the very populations that HUD’s public and assisted housing programs serve, the position of NLIHC and other advocates is that each public or assisted home lost should be replaced on a one-for-one basis.

NLIHC further understands that under the draft proposal residents of the original housing would have a right to return to the revitalized homes, a provision NLIHC supports. NLIHC understands, however, that none of the replacement housing in the CNI proposal would have to be built on the original site or even within the jurisdiction of the housing agency. The House’s HOPE VI bill, passed in January 2008, included the ability to build off-site, but at least one development, including some public housing units, would have to be built within the housing agency’s jurisdiction. While NLIHC understands that the replacement housing could be in the form of project-based vouchers, as was the case in the House’s HOPE VI bill, the CNI proposal does not include an authorization of appropriations for these new vouchers, as the House’s bill did.

NLIHC is also concerned that the CNI proposal, does not adequately ensure that replacement units built for displaced public and assisted housing residents will have the same affordability and income targeting as the units they replaced.

Finally, NLIHC understands that a CNI research/assessment component is missing from the Administration’s current proposal.

As part of its FY10 budget request, HUD asked for $250 million for CNI, and the Senate bill appropriations bill would fund CNI at the President’s requested level. The House’s FY10 HUD appropriations bill, however, does not include funding for CNI because the program has not yet been approved by the authorizing committees. NLIHC has communicated with appropriators that we do not support including the CNI in the appropriations bill because it is a major, large and ambitious new program that demands full consideration by both the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

NLIHC understands that the FY10 bill, when it emerges from conference negotiations and is enacted, will not include CNI funding. Rather, the proposal is expected to make way through the authorizing committees.

HUD has said that CNI “would expand on the lessons of the HOPE VI program and help revitalize neighborhoods of high poverty through transformative investments in distressed public and assisted housing and closer linkages with school reform and early childhood interventions.” However, HOPE VI has been criticized by many low income housing and resident advocates. Begun in 1993, HOPE VI has resulted in the demolition of about 155,000 public housing units, according to numbers from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and only about 50,000 of these units have been replaced with public housing units. While about 47,000 vouchers have been issued to displaced HOPE VI public housing residents, NLIHC’s position is that vouchers are not an adequate replacement for the loss of a hard public housing unit. As NLIHC has testified in Congress on various proposals to reauthorize the HOPE VI program, vouchers can be more costly for extremely poor residents
to use and can be very difficult to maintain if the resident has to move to a new apartment.

Beyond the loss of units affordable to extremely poor households, the current HOPE VI program does not require that residents of the severely distressed housing be given a right to return to the revitalized homes, something NLIHC strongly supports. The House-passed HOPE VI reauthorization bill, H.R. 3524, which was cosponsored by Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA), would have required a one-for-one replacement of any public housing unit demolished or revitalized through the HOPE VI program, with a waiver of up to 10% of units in very limited circumstances. The bill would have provided for the right of residents to return, for greatly increased resident participation, and for relocation services for displaced residents and other improvements to the HOPE VI program. NLIHC strongly supported the bill, which was never enacted.

As the CNI proposal makes its way through the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, advocates will pay close attention to how detailed the requirements are for resident and community participation in the CNI grant application, redevelopment process and actual neighborhood transformations. NLIHC will also be eager to see a strong assessment and research component added to the new program.

House Circulates Sign-On in Support of Voucher Funding

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) began circulating a letter to all Members of Congress on October 2, asking them to sign on to a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate HUD appropriations subcommittees regarding the FY09 voucher funding shortfall.

The letter asks House and Senate appropriators to include in the final HUD appropriations bill a Senate provision that would allow HUD to allocate up to $200 million of its FY10 funds to housing agencies with FY09 voucher funding shortfalls so these agencies can avoid terminating vouchers currently in use. The letter also asks that the eligible uses for the $200 million be broadened so housing agencies could also use the funds to protect families facing increased rents, to prevent the loss of vouchers through attrition, and to permit increased voucher leasing by agencies that have utilized a high proportion of their allocated amounts but are experiencing leasing rates significantly below their authorized number of units.

The amendment included in the Senate bill was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and was adopted on September 17. The House bill does not include a similar provision. The House and Senate will now iron out differences between their respective bills.

The modifications to the amendment requested in the letter mirror those sought by NLIHC, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in a letter sent to House and Senate appropriators on September 22 (see Memo, 9/25).  The modifications would direct these funds be used to avoid terminations, but would also allow them to be used to protect low income people facing a reduction in their voucher assistance because of FY09 funding shortfalls.

“What is most concerning to us is that the burden of this shortfall will fall primarily on low income families, often in the form of sharply increased rental costs. Many housing agencies are being forced to reduce the number of low income families they serve, despite a growing need,” the letter says.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated in a paper that the shortfall is approximately $130 million and is impacting about 400 housing agencies across the country (see Memo, 9/18). Because of the shortfalls, some agencies are taking steps such as reducing payment standards, which dictate the value of a voucher. When payment standards are reduced, the tenant must pay more in rent, often much greater than the 30% or 40% considered affordable by federal standards, or landlords must reduce what they are willing to take for rent, which does not increase the program’s popularity among the private landlords it relies on. Other agencies have stopped issuing vouchers that become available as families leave the voucher program, resulting in less rental assistance in communities at a time when more assistance is needed. Every state has at least one housing agency facing a shortfall for current calendar year funding of its voucher program.

In another look at how the voucher shortfall will impact low income families, the organization Children’s HealthWatch (CHW), which frequently releases policy briefs discussing aspects of children’s health, issued a brief on September 28 discussing the potential effects of the Section 8 voucher shortfall on children. CHW notes that 53% of households that receive vouchers are families with children. These vouchers help provide families with consistent housing, which is important for a child’s growth and development. CHW studies show that children who do not have consistent housing are more likely to face developmental delays, food insecurity and slow weight gain.  The brief calls on Congress to act quickly to protect the voucher program funding.

Finally, a HUD-sponsored webcast on October 8 will cover topics including the FY09 voucher shortfall (see article elsewhere in Memo).

All members of the House of Representatives should be urged to sign on to Mr. Schiff’s letter. House offices can sign onto the letter by contacting Aaron Baird in Mr. Schiff’s office, or (202)225-4176.  Link to Mr. Schiff’s letter at:

Link to the CBPP paper on the issue, and find the list of state impacts in its appendix, at:

Link to the CHW brief at: