Housing Commission Reports Severe Shortages

Millennial Housing Commission Reports to Congress; Recommendations Include Provisions to End Homelessness.

On Thursday, May 30, the congressionally appointed Millennial Housing Commission released its final report to Congress, outlining 13 principal recommendations to address the shortage of the nation’s affordable housing. The recommendations, which include provisions to end both transitional and chronic (or long-term) homelessness, fall into three main areas: the creation of new housing tools, major reform of several current housing programs, and the steam lining of existing programs. The key recommendations targeted to ending homelessness included: Eliminating chronic homelessness over a 10-year period through the creation of 150,000 additional units of permanent supportive housing Certificate Fund. Providing a capital subsidy for the production or preservation of units targeted exclusively to extremely low-income households (restrictions enabling occupancy by extremely low-income households would be capped at 20% of the units in any single development to avoid concentrating poverty). Appropriating additional funds for substantial annual increments of Housing Choice Vouchers to address the housing problems of extremely low-and very low-income families and taking reformative steps such as:

  1. – increasing authority for local program administrators to change payment standards to respond to market conditions, enacting measures to match voucher holders with services that foster employment and other opportunities.
  2. – strengthening and enforcing the requirement that owners of housing produced with federal assistance accept voucher-holding households, including extremely low-income households.
  3. - creating “thrifty production voucher,” which could be used in combination with LIHTC, HOME, CDBG programs for households with extremely low incomes.

Income Housing Tax Credit Programs, including changing the tax Credit Program, including changing the tax code to allow states to use Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds for one-time grants to tax-credit properties. Creating Congressionally authorized” preservation entities”-organizations that purchase and preserve affordable housing-and tax incentives for owners who sell property to these entities. Improving public housing by reducing regulatory burdens for public housing agencies and transitioning to a project-based approach. Additionally, the commission issued a number of supporting recommendations including: increasing funding for housing assistance in rural areas; increasing funding for Native American housing; and streamlining state planning requirements for community development programs. To view the full report, see http://www.mhc.gov/

Published in the Homeless Grapevine, Cleveland Ohio July 2002 Issue 55