For many Americans, the rent is already too damn high, and skyrocketing housing costs are all the more devastating for low-income families. A 2016 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that a person working full-time and earning the minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county.
Now, instead of looking for ways to relieve low-income families of this burden, the federal government is trying to make the housing crisis worse, with the Washington Post reporting on Wednesday that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is looking to triple rent costs for people living in federally subsidized housing.
From the Post:
The move to overhaul how low-income rental subsidies are calculated would affect more than 4.5 million families relying on federal housing assistance. The proposal legislation would require congressional approval.
Currently, tenants generally pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent or a public housing agency minimum rent—which is capped at $50 a month for the poorest families. The administration’s legislative proposal sets the family monthly rent contribution at 35 percent of gross income or 35 percent of their earnings working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage. Under the proposal, the cap for the poorest families would rise to approximately $150 a month, three times higher than the current minimum.
Meanwhile this week, Sean Hannity was revealed as the secret buyer behind a group of shell companies that paid $90 million to buy more than 870 homes—some of them low-income housing—over the past 10 years. Some of those properties were acquired with help from HUD—a fact Hannity has never disclosed while interviewing Carson on his Fox News show.
The working poor are already stretched to their breaking point, all the time. The problem doesn’t lie with them, but with the hollowing out of the middle class, and with our government’s extremely skewed priorities.