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How The Trump Administration Plans to Dismantle Public Housing Brick by Brick

How The Trump Administration Plans to Dismantle Public Housing Brick by Brick


The Trump presidency has been no friend to
people in this country struggling to make ends meet, from proposed work requirements
for Medicaid, to planned cuts to food assistance. The current administration has made it clear
Americans who can least afford it are on their own. And nowhere has this been made more clear
than a series of proposals to increase rents for people who rely on federal help to get
by. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr.
Ben Carson has made a stunning proposal to raise rates across the board for those who
receive rental assistance. According to the Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities, the move would, quote: “raise rents by an average of 44 percent on more
than 4 million low-income households.” It’s a proposal that would have broad impact,
especially in our city, Baltimore, that is home to 11000 public housing units. To help us understand the far-reaching implications
we’re joined by Will Fischer from the Center on Budget and Policy, a Washington-based think
tank. Will as a senior policy analyst who worked
in the center in 2002. His work focuses on federal low-income housing
programs, including Section 8 vouchers, public housing, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Will, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me. Sure. But before we get started, we have a package
on how this policy change will affect-low income housing residents. This is Taya Graham, reporting for the Real
News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland. Dr. Ben Carson wants to raise the rents in
public housing just like this, but the people who live here have a message for him. Sometimes it’s hard to measure the consequences
of Trump’s policy decisions on low-income Americans in personal terms. We wanted to get a sense of the fallout from
another move proposed by Trump: raising rents on residents of subsidized housing. It’s in a plan announced by Housing and
Urban Development head Dr. Ben Carson with little fanfare. But analysts say this policy could raise rents
on the country’s poorest citizens by as much as 40 percent. It’s a decision that many residents who
rely on public housing say will exacerbate the growing inequality in America, and the
burden on its poorest citizens to survive. It’s going to impact us a great deal, because
most of us are on a very fixed income. You know, people that, even want to consider
have no income, do not live in public housing. For them to raise our rent, triple the time,
how am I supposed to feed my children? Because I have to make sure we have a place
to stay. Well, I won’t be able to afford to pay. I probably, will probably have to move in
with my sister. You’re saying you would be paying $1200
for a one bedroom apartment in public housing if this proposal goes through. Yes. And what am I supposed to do with the rest
of my money, the little I got left? We got to be able to fight these things. And that’s why I’m doing all I can in
any development that I go in. And not just development, but talking to people
that don’t live in the developments, because it affects them, too. So, Will, can you give us an overview of what
HUD is proposing, and how it will affect low-income residents in subsidized housing? Sure. What HUD’s proposing is to raise rents on
the great majority of families with rental assistance around the country. And that’s mostly elderly people, people
with disabilities, and working families. Their rents would rise by over $3 billion
, nationally. So these are really big increases for families
that don’t have a lot of money to spare. So how do these numbers translate for the
average household? I mean, what could this mean for someone who
currently receives subsidies? So, the average increase would be close to
$800 over the course of a year. And these are families that generally have
very little income, so they don’t have a lot of room in their budget to make up those
kinds of costs. So what is the impetus behind the proposal? Why is the Trump administration targeting
low-income renters? Well, they, they claim that this is intended
partly to support work. But when you look at the reality of these
proposals, that really doesn’t make sense. Part of what they’re proposing is to raise
rents on virtually every working family with assistance, and the more they earn the more
their rent increase would be. You wouldn’t do that if your goal was really
focused on encouraging and supporting work. The bigger goal is that they want to cut funding
for these programs, and these rent increases are one way of implementing those cuts. Very often the face of public housing or government
subsidies is a young black mother. Is that an accurate depiction of Americans
who receive this assistance? Well, there’s all kinds of people in rental
assistance. There’s over 4 million households that would
be affected by this, and that includes many elderly people, people with disabilities. And then lots of families with kids. The majority of those are working families. So there’s a real range of folks in these
assistance programs. I mean, in a sense, this is not a new policy. There has been long-term disinvestment in
low-income housing, right? Yeah, that’s right. There’s been a whole series of cuts over
the years, particularly recently, that have been either proposed are actually made to
low-income programs. And most recently, the Trump administration’s
budget for this year proposed a $11 billion cut to HUD programs. So this is part of that. Do you think this will affect both Section
8 and public housing residents? Yeah, it does. It covers both of those programs, so people
on both those programs would be affected. We spoke to several public housing residents
about this proposal. Residents suggested that cost increase could
actually increase crime or create more homelessness as families turn to even illegal means to
try to keep their homes. Are there any unintended consequences that
you see? Yeah. I mean, these kinds of rate increases have
a whole range of harmful consequences for people. There’s really strong research showing all
the benefits that rental assistance in its current form has. It reduces homelessness, it reduces housing
instability. Kids and families with assistance bounce from
school to school less. They’re less likely to be pulled from their
families and placed in foster care. And if you sharply raise their rents, all
those benefits are going to often not be there for them, and it’ll really destabilize their
lives in a lot of ways. So their main concern is that they will simply
not be able to pay their rent. It’s hard to understand how cutting these
subsidies are supposed to make families self-sufficient. Can you explain this logic. I can’t explain the logic. I think, I think you’re right, though, that
a family has to pay much higher rent, it’s going to be harder for them to keep their
home. They would be more likely to evict, and that’s
just going to be harder for them to find or keep a job. So, you vote in a recent post that the administration
is trying to make up for a $3.2 billion cut to rental assistance. Why is that cut happening now? It’s a proposed cut. It’s in their budget, they have a large
cut to funding for all these programs, public housing, vouchers. And it’s, it’s particularly striking then
they say that this is something they’re doing to reduce spending and reduce the deficit. But it comes right after policymakers enacted
a $1.9 trillion tax cut that mainly benefits the wealthy and profitable corporations. So for them now to turn around and say they
have to raise rents on some of the poorest people in the country to address that instead,
it just doesn’t make sense. It’s a question of priorities. In Baltimore the RAD, or Rental Assistance
Demonstration program, is already leading to big changes in public housing. We recently had a property called Heritage
Crossing turned over to a developer, along with a hefty tax break. Can you explain the RAD program, and perhaps
how you think the Trump administration will manage it? So, the RAD program is a program that converts
public housing to subsidies under the Section 8 program, which is used for most rental assistance
in this country. And generally these are more reliable subsidies,
and this is a program that is a way to provide more resources for public housing. There’s for sure a need for that in public
housing across the country. But what RAD means on the ground really depends
a lot on implementation by local housing agencies, and also on oversight by HUD. And so if those aren’t strong that can lead
to some harmful consequences for people that live in these developments. So what kind of review process is there? Or is this in the hands of Dr. Ben Carson
alone? These are legislative proposals from the Trump
administration. So Congress would have to enact them in order
for them to become law. And so far there hasn’t been any action
on that. A House subcommittee held a hearing on a set
of proposals that would allow somewhat similar rent increases, pretty big increases, for
those in public housing and with vouchers. But there hasn’t been any, any legislation
introduced to advance the Trump administration proposal, so we’ll just have to see how
that plays out. My last question is: the future for public
housing in this country looks bleak. Is that a fair assessment? Yeah, I think that there’s a huge backlog
of unmet repair needs in public housing. A lot of the time these are relatively old
developments, and they need resources to renovate them and repair them on an ongoing basis. And so far the money just hasn’t been there
in federal budgets, and it’s actually been cut quite a bit in recent years. Will, I want to thank you so much for joining
us. Thank you. I’m Taya Graham, and I want to thank you
for joining me at the Real News Network.

32 comments on “How The Trump Administration Plans to Dismantle Public Housing Brick by Brick

  1. We are seeing the criticisms from Karl Marx of late state capitalism in broad day light. Next stop. An violent armed revolt from poor and working class Americans. A society that puts profits over the welfare of its people and runs off of a war economy cannot sustain itself.

  2. Stop making babies!!! The Democrat Mayor in Baltimore vetoed a $15 per hour minimum wage bill… Stop blaming Trump for everything!

  3. Everyone in the real world knows people that cheat the system. The racism of low expectations…..people need help. They can not help themselves.

  4. This is what happens in a capitalist country that is on it's death bed. They have realized that these people are dispensable. People on welfare have jobs, but they don't pay anything. These people will never rise up economically, and the current government understands this and they also understand the effects of Climate Change. A third of the population must be eliminated ASAP in order to sustain the oil economy. You start at the bottom of the economic ladder and work upward as more wealth is driven up to the elites.

  5. I have family in public housing, both adults work diligently & they still have a difficult time keeping food on the table for their children within pay periods.

  6. I was working and couldn't afford many of the one bedroom apartments on the market in subsidized housing.
    I was forced to work two full time jobs for several years.
    These people get much less than I ever was paid.

  7. Those in power are a joke! They live in comfort and couldn’t careless about real people who struggle with life

  8. It's really all Sean Hannity,Ben Netanyahu & Vladimir Putin's fault for having the Trump and his cronies to subtract housing from some of us unfortunate people.

  9. If they would raise the minimum wage to an actual living wage tied to inflation, there would be no need for public housing except for the disabled and elderly. Our tax dollars have made billionaires out of corporations and their shareholders by supporting all these social programs such as housing, SNAP, etc. while keeping people in dire poverty. The answer is to make employers pay workers a livable wage, not to further disrespect them by making housing too expensive for their meager budget. Even a burger flipper at a fast food restaurant deserves to be able to better himself. We have to stop looking at work like there are some jobs that are less than others. What you do shouldn't matter, the fact that you work is the important part, because no matter what you do, by working you are adding something to society. After all, fast food workers are trusted to feed our families, they should be respected, not demeaned. It all depends on your perspective, we need to walk a mile in their shoes.

  10. so dismantling housing is helping? putting more people outdoors and call it "we take care and pride of our people?" damn! so much on that world "role model" platform. perhaps take those bricks to build that wall so others Won't see the future homeless we put out from that mighty wall of bricks they once called "a home." we have yet to learn from the mistakes we dismantled to repeat them which raises more questions for solutions of past misfortunes. like a cat in a litterbox, just cover it up and hope that smell of it doesn't rise up to be found out. not very functional people, condemning homes and the lives within them not a wise solution (ask palastains how that's working). UNITED WE STAND for a better tomorrow, yet we allow this to happen today. we failed here somehow! YES "WE!" whats in store tomorrow "public executions of the poor or elderly?!" casting children on to the streets of this nation of opportunity is not a worthy cause for this nation or any nation. a war weapon building nation has a disadvantage to its own people. we destroy ourselves with little thought of today what we do to others tomorrow and cover it up to feel better of ourselves… the litterbox is starting to smell and we fail to resolve for a positive outcome. time to come forth and realize we may be the cat on this. so easy to tear down than to build and whats left is vacant. lets us not be vanished from the face of this nation, we have plenty of bricks to build hope and bridges for all to call "A HOME OF HOPE FOR ONE AND ALL." just one of many tomorrows….

  11. This and other policies that target the poor and vulnerable are part of an indirect ethnic (and classist) cleansing strategy.

  12. Pay $1200 for her apartment… what they didn't say is that is for a YEAR. I dont agree with this policy, i think we should help house people who cant afford it, I think we are doing it all wrong though, the way we currently do it breeds crime. We need to make mini homes, maybe 20 by 30 feet for the first resident, and an additional 10×10 for each additional resident, but the most important part is these houses need to go out into rural areas and not be within 1 mile of the next S8 house. Spread this out through our farm land where there is plenty of land, and plenty of work for those who can work.

  13. If they're going to charge $1200 for a one bedroom apartment, then they should offer free or very affordable dormitory style housing for ppl who can't pay.

  14. Carson "cognitive blindspots" has no limits when 44% of the homeless people in the US have jobs and are working! ["Ben Carson: A case study on why intelligent people are often not skeptics" https://respectfulinsolence.com/2015/11/06/ben-carson-why-intelligent-people-are-not-necessarily-skeptics/
    "National Coalition Against Homelessness, told Al Jazeera that of the 3.5 million Americans who experience homelessness each year, 25% are employed" In Canada 23% are employed
    http://homelesshub.ca/blog/how-many-people-experiencing-homelessness-are-employed

  15. My neighborhood is a mix of long time homeowners and foreclosed homes that became section 8. These section 8 residents drive brand new cars,don't work at all,and throw huge parties and feasts for dozens of their friends every night of the week they fill a 60 gallon recycle bin with beer bottles. They have raging bonfires (in city center) park all their cars in the alley and try to fight you if you ask them to move so other residents can get out of their garages. They leave their stereo speakers in the window facing out and cranked up around the clock. The point is,I won't be sad to see them priced out of the homes they've been destroying.

  16. The people struggling are not the ones who are already getting everything for free. They are the ones who are working hard everyday at an actual job. The handouts need to be decreased to incentivize people to go get jobs. The only people who should be living for free are the handicapped and elderly. These people who decided to have multiple kids with no education and no skills need to figure it out for themselves. As long as these handouts are in place people will continue to abuse them. People will take as much as they can get.

  17. We can afford to bomb the shit out of foreign country's and at the same time neglect every person in need in our own country. What a joke.

  18. all good things must come to an end and we are about to experience the end of the good times u would have to be a true idoit to think that these governments funded programs would last forever a smart person would of used the time to come up with a plan to lift their selves out of the public housing slash warfare and not jus expect to sit on it for generations and decades thinking that it would never break or come to an end it's an unsustainable system and like I said only a fool would sit up for years and not have an escape plan to better themselves yeah u hear the comments about how it's messed up and how it's unfair and not right and insensitive yeah I hear ya I do but folks gotta realize this shit was not going to last forever anyone with a functioning mind should be able to realize that and prepare instead of jus sitting on it waiting to get slaughtered and its here and it's gonna be a terrible sight a leave so. many people homeless but as I said a person that understands and uses common sense would have understood that these government help programs we're never and I mean never intended to last forever and if u believed that then your fuckin brain washed by this system and u will be hung out to dry for believing in it they basically telling people that now u are on your own they cutting the Embical cords it is what is

  19. moment of truth government is bailing out on the poor time to put on your big boy and big girl pants either your gonna swim or sink

  20. I think that in this current phase of monopoly capitalism the objective potentialities for a new society is happening right through its exploitative nature!
    It is a period of imperialism marked by a prodigious expansion of the technical forces of the military.
    Under the direction of this administration, America's military industrial power is spent on material waste and this lays the foundation for a truly affluent society in this decade or the near future.
    However, the obstacles are the rule of the capitalist class over the vast resources of natural wealth and over the productive might of this industrial military complex.
    The complex need not be dismantled in order for its productiveness of labor to serve human needs. The 'perennial gale' of competition that exists between nation-states
    for military purposes is now on the positive side of the equation.

  21. Her rent won't go up to 1200 that's just bullshit. They pay a hundred or two and the we pay the rest. And remember that includes utilities and food.

  22. Let me tell you what I think of Section 8. A person I knew from high school moved into the area and he was paying $500. They can shut Section 8 down far as I care. These people get to move to the suburbs and we have to pay for them oh, that's foolishness. I wouldn't care if they double the rents.

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