The Los Angeles County Development Authority has called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to rescind its Proposed Rule: Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status (Proposed Rule).
If implemented, the Proposed Rule would prohibit undocumented immigrants from living in assisted housing, even if they are not receiving a direct benefit from HUD’s Public Housing and the Housing Choice Voucher programs.
In comments submitted to HUD, the LACDA stated that the Proposed Rule would fail to advance any meaningful public policy benefit or financial gain for public housing agencies.
Instead, LACDA said, the Proposed Rule presents 88 public housing and 342 HCV households with the impossible choice of splitting up their family in order to preserve necessary housing assistance or staying whole and facing homelessness.
Specifically, households with children would be severely impacted since they are unlikely to separate in order to retain housing assistance.
More than 68% of LACDA’s public housing participants and 78% of HCV households have at least one minor. Both options will have significant and devastating impacts on the LACDA’s 798 affected children.
While HUD asserts that the Proposed Rule is necessary to bring the agency’s implementation regulations into alignment and ensure that only U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants receive assistance, existing regulations already satisfy these objectives.
Currently, mixed-status families are allowed to live together in subsidized housing, but the assistance is prorated to exclude household members who are ineligible. For example, among public housing residents served by the LACDA, the average subsidy to a fully-eligible household is over $600 per month more than what is provided for a mixed-immigration status family.
At a time when Los Angeles County is facing a severe affordable housing crisis and homelessness is up by 12%, the Proposed Rule will only serve to exacerbate an already contentious issue and increase the number of people living in the streets, vehicles and shelters in often unhealthy and heartbreaking conditions.
Monique King-Viehland, LACDA Executive Director, said, “The Proposed Rule will revert the significant efforts made by the LACDA and its partners to keep people housed. Unless the families are suddenly able to afford the county’s high rental market, without the subsidies that have helped them maintain their household, homelessness is a serious and concerning possibility.”
The Proposed Rule not only counters the local efforts to house vulnerable families, it severely steers away from decades of HUD policy and practice and the agency’s objective to promote housing security and stability through investing in, and expanding, access to affordable housing.
The Proposed Rule singles out hard-working immigrant families and denies eligible, hard-working, low-income individuals vital housing assistance for no reason other than a family member’s immigration status.
The LACDA is charged with overseeing affordable housing programs for Los Angeles County and is a core member of the Homeless Initiative. Its mission to Build Better Lives and Better Neighborhoods guides the agency to advocate on behalf of its residents to ensure adequate funding to maintain and operate affordable housing, and preserve and increase the county’s housing stock.
For more information on the LACDA, visit lacda.org.