Bi-Partisan Legislation to Reduce Burden on Low-Income Families Advances

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Washington, DC, March 24, 2015 | comments

Yesterday H.R. 233, the Tenant Income Verification Relief Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives allowing tenants on a fixed income have their income certified and/or verified once every three years rather than annually.  This bi-partisan legislation, introduced by Rep. Perlmutter (CO-07) and Rep. Stivers (OH-15), will aid our most vulnerable constituents and provide marginal regulatory relief to public housing authorities and privately owned rental properties who wish to service housing vouchers.

The annual review requirement places burdens on fixed-income households.  This legislation will help lighten the regulatory requirements placed on housing authorities and their tenants while still ensuring accountability,” said Rep. Perlmutter.  “As a result, housing authorities will be able to use their funds more efficiently while providing more opportunities for low-income tenants which includes many seniors.

“This bill is a great first step towards ensuring our nation’s low-income families have safe places to live while simultaneously reducing administrative burdens families face yearly and creating better opportunities for housing authorities to use their time and resources more efficiently,” said Rep. Stivers.

Currently, private property owners and state and local housing agencies must review income annually for all rental assistance recipients. That includes recipients who receive most or all of their income from fixed sources such as Social Security and therefore see little income change from year to year.  This legislation allows housing authorities to conduct triennial income re-certifications for households where 90 percent or more their income is fixed. 

The annual review requirement can often be burdensome on low-income households who must gather and submit information needed to verify income and deductions and in some cases must go to agency offices for in-person reviews.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) who wrote in support of H.R. 233, said “this change would substantially reduce paperwork burdens for low-income seniors and people with disabilities and administrative costs for agencies and owners.”  More than half of rental assistance recipients are elderly or disabled households that often rely on fixed incomes, and income reviews are the single largest source of rental assistance administrative costs.

The legislation amends The Housing Act of 1937 and applies to both public housing authorities and the voucher program. 

Since assuming office in 2007, Rep. Perlmutter has served on the House Financial Services Committee which has jurisdiction over many issues including housing programs such as Public Housing and all HUD programs.  In October 2014, Rep. Perlmutter was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” for his significant contributions and support for affordable housing by the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). Rep. Perlmutter has also supported other federal housing programs, including: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits; New Markets Tax Credits; Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnership Funds; and efforts to fund the Housing Trust Fund. 

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