May 10, 2019

Enterprise Joins Affordable Housing, Civil Rights, and Immigration Organizations in Opposing HUD Rule that Would Separate or Evict Mixed-Status Families

Share Posted By:

Today HUD published a proposed rule that would prohibit “mixed-status families”—households whose members have different citizenship and immigration statuses—from living in public and other subsidized housing. This proposal would lead to the eviction of mixed-status families that are currently permitted to live together and receive prorated housing assistance for the eligible family members. It would also further threaten the housing assistance for millions of households that remain eligible for assistance and consist only of U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants. 

Enterprise strongly opposes HUD’s proposed rule on the verification of eligible status. In a statement released today, Senior Vice President for Policy Marion Mollegen McFadden said: 

“In communities nationwide, hardworking Americans find that their wages have not kept up with the rent. As a matter of good public policy, we need more housing that is affordable for low-income families. We must work to connect people to opportunities to get an education, travel to work, and receive medical care. Healthy housing for everyone is the foundation to inclusive, thriving communities. HUD should lead the nation in improving the housing stability of millions of American households. 

HUD’s proposed rule to change the regulations implementing section 214 and to add additional layers of bureaucracy to an already-implemented law is misguided and deeply concerning. Per HUD’s own analysis, the targeting of mixed-status families would not clear public housing waiting lists - instead it would render tens of thousands of American children homeless. HUD should be directing its focus on scaling up programs and policies that work to address the needs of underserved communities. HUD should work to eradicate poverty and ensure housing policies are fair and equitable. Enterprise strongly opposes the proposed amendments, and we urge the administration to turn its focus to more efficiently and equitably serve low-income communities.” 

Enterprise also joined more than 25 organizations opposing HUD’s proposed rule in a statement released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

Comments on HUD’s proposed rule are due July 9. Enterprise strongly urges our partners to submit comments to HUD objecting to this proposed rule. 

Background

Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, as amended, prohibits HUD from making financial assistance available to persons other than United States citizens or certain categories of eligible noncitizens in programs covered by Section 214. HUD programs covered by Section 214 include: 

  • Public Housing;
  • All Section 8 Housing Assistance programs;
  • Section 236 Housing, with or without Ren Supplements (low-income units only);
  • Rent Supplement housing;
  • Section 235 Homeownership housing;
  • Housing Development Grant programs (with respect to low-income units only); and
  • Section 23 Leased Housing Assistance Program.

Currently, HUD allows families to live together in subsidized housing even if a family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is prorated to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance. HUD’s current regulations already require that individuals claiming eligible status and applying to receive housing assistance from Section 214 covered programs provide documentation of their eligible immigration status.

For instance, a mixed-status family could consist of a child born in the United States or a citizen spouse and the housing assistance would be prorated to cover only those eligible residents, whose eligible status is verified. A household with four family members, one of which is an ineligible member, would receive 75 percent of the rent subsidy that a household with the same income but fully eligible members would. It is also important to note that an “ineligible” household member is not necessarily an undocumented immigrant; immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible to receive housing assistance.

What the Proposed Rule Would Do

The proposed rule would make two significant changes to HUD’s regulations implementing Section 214: 

  1. The proposed rule would require the verification of the eligible immigration status of all recipients of assistance under a covered program who are under the age of 62 through Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE), which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security. 
     
  2. The proposed rule would specify that individuals who are not verified in an eligible immigration status may not serve as the head of household or spouse, even as part of a mixed-status family whose assistance is prorated based on the percentage of members with eligible status. Further, the proposed rule states that HUD no longer agrees that a leaseholder can be exempted from having verified eligible immigration status at the outset of the tenancy and assistance. 

Not only would this proposed rule result in unnecessary and wasteful administrative costs and burdens, but it would lead to the eviction of thousands of mixed-status households, including those with eligible family members. Under the proposed rule, ineligible individuals would no longer be able to sign a lease of subsidized housing, even if their children are entitled to prorated benefits. A Washington Post article reported on details from a HUD analysis of the rule’s regulatory impact. According to the article, the HUD analysis “concluded that half of current residents living in households potentially facing eviction and homelessness are children who are legally qualified for aid.” 

This proposed rule could push many families into homelessness, even if they are in fact eligible for housing assistance out of fear of separation. According to the Washington Post article, HUD’s analysis acknowledged that potential outcome, stating, “HUD expects that fear of the family being separated would lead to prompt evacuation by most mixed households,” and that “temporary homelessness could arise for a household, if they are unable to find alternative housing.”

Click here to view the proposed rule

Take Action  

Enterprise joins housing, civil rights, social justice, faith-based, and immigration organizations in strongly opposing the HUD rule. Enterprise will be preparing comments to submit to HUD, which we will share with our network. 

Comments on HUD’s proposed rule are due July 9. We strongly encourage our national, state, and local partners to also submit comments to HUD objecting to this proposed rule
 

Opp360 logo

For full access to our tools and resources, please provide the information below.

We use this data to better understand our users; we do not sell or share this data. By providing this information, you can expect to receive newsletters and other updates from Opportunity360.