The President’s FY 2019 budget request proposes changes to the U.S. Housing Act that would allow public housing agencies and owners of HUD-subsidized properties to institute work requirements – up to 32 hours of work per week per adult household member – as well as raise rent payments from households receiving federal rental assistance from 30 to 35 percent of gross monthly income. A blog post by the Urban Institute notes that these changes would reduce low-income household’s ability to pay for other essential costs that support employment, such as childcare and transportation. In addition, there is no evidence that increasing rent or instituting work requirements for HUD-assisted households would increase employment or income for lower-income households.
An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also shows that nearly 90 percent of the more than 4.6 million households that receive rental assistance through HUD are elderly, disabled, working/worked recently, or likely had access to work programs under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The analysis also shows that HUD-assisted households that are not working, particularly those detached from the labor force for an extended period, are more likely to face significant barriers to work, including chronic health problems, low levels of education, full-time caretaking responsibilities and domestic violence.