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House Panel Approves Housing Voucher Bill

On May 24, the House Financial Services Committee approved, 52-9, the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act (H.R. 1851), sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

The Section 8 program provides monetary vouchers for low-income families to obtain privately-owned rental housing. Section 8 is the largest federal program designed to provide affordable housing to low-income families, serving more than two million households.

During consideration of the measure, the committee approved, by voice vote:

  • a manager’s amendment by Rep. Waters that would provide fees for family self-sufficiency coordinators; rename the Moving to Work program the Housing Innovation Program and expand the program’s housing agencies from 40 to 60; remove the ten-year program limit; prohibit the use of employment status as a condition of housing assistance; and authorize $10 million for low-income family capacity building; and
  • an amendment by Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) to require the distribution of Section 8 vouchers, regardless of the unit- and family-size standards used by the administering agency.The committee rejected:
  • an amendment by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to establish a 20 hour per week work requirement for family members over age 18 to maintain eligibility for Section 8 benefits, 28-35; and
  • an amendment by Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) to limit eligibility for Section 8 benefits to a period of 84 months, by voice vote.
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