Representatives Duffy and Cleaver Introduce Voucher Mobility Demonstration Bill

On May 16, House Financial Services Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) introduced the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018, HR 5793. The bill would encourage Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (voucher) recipients to move to lower poverty neighborhoods to expand access to opportunity areas. The bill is based on a discussion draft Duffy released earlier this year, which was featured during a Subcommittee hearing a few weeks ago.

The bill authorizes HUD to administer a mobility demonstration through consortia of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) that serve areas with high concentrations of housing voucher recipients in "poor, low-opportunity neighborhoods" and have enough moderately priced units in "higher opportunity areas" to meet the need. The HUD Secretary would select participants based on competitive criteria. Interested PHAs would be required to submit a "Regional Housing Mobility Plan" that would identify: the number of PHAs participating, the number of vouchers each PHA would make available for the demonstration program out of their existing programs, the community-based organizations and businesses that will participate and their commitment, required waivers for the execution of the Plan, specific actions to accomplish the goals, and criteria to identify areas of opportunity.

HR 5793 provides no funding for the mobility demonstration; instead, PHAs could use their administrative fees, administrative fee reserves, and funding from private entities to provide mobility-related services in connection with the demonstration. PHAs would also be able to use Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) for security deposits, if required when moving families into higher opportunity areas.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD)-approved Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding bill provides $50 million for a voucher mobility demonstration, of which up to $20 million would be for new incremental voucher assistance and the remainder would be available to provide mobility-related services to families with children, including pre- and post-move counseling and rent deposits, and to offset the administrative costs of operating the mobility demonstration.

HR 5793 was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services and currently has no additional sponsors.

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