The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released their proposed 2019 budget in early February 2018. The proposed Gross Discretionary Budget Authority for 2019 is $41.24 billion, which is an increase from the 2018 budget but still remains significantly lower than the budgets of the six years prior to 2018. The graph below compares the proposed Gross Discretionary Budget Authorities from the last seven years, adjusted for inflation to match the power of the dollar in February 2018.
The announcement of the 2019 budget was accompanied with a proposed amendment to the US Housing Act of 1937, referred to as the . This proposed act was altered and rereleased in April 2018. The Making Affordable Housing Work Act includes increasing subsidized rent to 35% of a family’s or individual’s gross income, raising minimum rent to at least $50, and allowing public housing authorities and owners of subsidized properties to set minimum work requirements for tenants to qualify for housing assistance. The act also eliminates some income deductions, including those effecting medical costs, which may lead to greater rent hikes for people with disabilities, seniors, and families with children – groups which make up most of the HUD’s beneficiaries.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has defended the budget and policy changes, saying that the increased rents will encourage people to work more, earn more, and more quickly remove themselves from government aid and potential dependency. However, there is no evidence at this point in time that links increased rents with higher levels of productivity or a path to self-sufficiency. In the midst of an affordable housing shortage and increasing homelessness, the proposed 2019 HUD Budget and Making Affordable Housing Work Act are expected to further burden low to moderate income earning Americans.