Section 8 Appropriations Request

April 21, 2008

Senators Feingold and Collins Release Section 8 Funding Request Letter

As you know, the section 8 program is a critical component in the continuum of housing for low income people, including people with HIV/AIDS. But Section 8 but has not kept pace with need in many years. Senators Feingold (D-WI) and Collins (R-ME) are circulating the letter below for signatures. It urges the Senate THUD Appropriations subcommittee to increase funding for the tenant-based Section 8 program for FY2009. The letter closes on this Thursday, April 24.

Follow these easy steps to request that your Senator sign on:

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Senator’s office. (Don’t know who your Senator is? Visit www.senate.gov to find out.)
  • Ask to speak to the staffer in your Senator’s office that handles housing issues.
  • Tell the staffer about the importance of Section 8 in providing housing for people with HIV/AIDS in your community.
  • Ask the Senator to sign on to the letter. If the staffer wants more information, Amanda Beaumont is staffing the letter for Sen. Feingold and Jen Capriola is staffing the letter for Sen. Collins.
  • Please let NAHC know the results of your contact by emailing Latoya Thomas at latoya@nationalaidshousing.org.

Below is the letter to Appropriators requesting an increase for Section 8.

PROGRAMMATIC REQUEST LETTER

Dear Chairwoman Murray and Ranking Member Bond:

We are writing to urge you to support the highest fiscally responsible increase in funding for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in the fiscal year 2009 THUD appropriations bill. We ask that you include funding sufficient to renew existing vouchers as well as fund new vouchers in fiscal year 2009. Increasing numbers of American families are facing housing affordability challenges, whether they are renters or homeowners, and we are concerned that the current level of funding for the Section 8 program does not come close to meeting the existing rental assistance need in communities nationwide. The housing affordability burden continues to fall most heavily on low-income renters throughout the country and increased funding for the Section 8 program will help meet the affordable rental housing needs of these American families.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, originally created in 1974, is the largest Federal housing program in terms of HUD’s budget with approximately two million vouchers currently authorized. Yet the current number of vouchers does not come close to meeting the demand that exists in communities around our country including urban, suburban, and rural areas. We have heard from advocates in our states about the increased need for additional funding for the tenant-based program – not only to fund existing vouchers in use, but to also fund new, incremental tenant-based vouchers for low- income families currently unable to be served by the program. Advocates in our states also continue to tell us about the increasing numbers of families on waiting lists for vouchers and unfortunately, these waiting lists will only grow longer if the Section 8 program does not receive increased funding.

A number of different government agencies and advocacy organizations all cite the effectiveness of Section 8 in assisting low-income families in meeting some of their housing needs. In 2002, the Government Accountability Office determined that a one-bedroom unit of housing provided through the Section 8 program costs less than it would through other federal housing programs. That same year, the Millennial Housing Commission reported to Congress that the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is “flexible, cost-effective, and successful in its mission,” and that the vouchers “should continue to be the linchpin of a national policy providing very low- income renters access to the privately owned housing stock.” The Commission also called on Congress to provide a substantial investment in the tenant-based Section 8 program in the future.

In order to address the growing need for affordable housing, we urge you to include a sizeable and fiscally responsible increase for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in the fiscal year 2009 THUD appropriations bill that will not only fully fund existing vouchers, but also provide funding for new Section 8 vouchers in 2009. We commend you for the support that you provided to the Section 8 tenant-based program in the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution for fiscal year 2007 as well as the Consolidated Appropriations Act in fiscal year 2008. We look forward to working with you to not only boost funding for this valuable federal program that helps millions of American families secure affordable housing, but also promote responsible reforms to the Section 8 program that will allow the program to better serve the needs of American families for years to come.

Thank you for your consideration to our request. Your continued leadership on affordable housing issues is appreciated.

Sincerely,
Your Member of Congress???