ProJo: Editorial: HUD plan would place added burden on poor

How does one square the messages about housing affordability from the federal government?

On the one hand, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says people who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs are “housing-cost burdened.” That's why the government has traditionally helped subsidize housing for low-income people who would otherwise be priced out of the housing market.

On the other hand, the agency said this spring it intends to change the rules to raise the housing burden to 35 percent of a household's gross income. HUD Secretary Ben Carson says the lower subsidies would encourage people to find jobs, or better-paying jobs.

Viewed from a bureaucratic distance, perhaps, the idea has a certain logic. But viewed through the prism of low-income households, the change heaps a heavier burden on people who already struggle to buy groceries and pay utilities. In the words of one critic, the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., it is part of the administration's “war on poor people.”

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Courtesy of Providence Journal

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