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Those eligible for assistance under the Act are: (1) U.S. citizens and nationals; (2) lawful permanent residents; (3) VAWA self-petitioners; (4) asylees and refugees; (5) parolees; (6) persons granted withholding of removal/deportation; (7) victims of trafficking; (8) individuals residing in U.S. under compacts of free association with Marshall Islands, Micronesia & Palau; and (9) immigrants admitted for lawful temporary residence under the Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986.
(1) declaration that they are a U.S. citizen or noncitizen with eligible status;
(2) eligible noncitizens must provide an original copy of a document designated by DHS as acceptable evidence; or
(3) a household member can “Not Contend" eligibility (i.e., they do not request consideration for assistance).
HUD is proposing to revise the current eligibility standards for housing assistance drastically. If implemented, the proposed rule would limit many families’ ability to access such assistance. Specifically, HUD is seeking to:
1. The Proposed Rule Fails to Treat Housing as a Fundamental Right. Catholic social teaching holds that safe, decent, and affordable housing is a fundamental human right. “There must be made available to all men everything necessary for leading a life truly human, such as food, clothing, and shelter.”viii Housing is more than a market commodity, it is a basic social good. Because housing is a basic right of the human person, the government has a positive and proactive role to play in its provision. HUD must not neglect its responsibility to serve the poor and vulnerable and ensure that safe, decent, and affordable housing is available to mixed-status families.
2. The Proposed Rule Harms Families. If implemented, the proposed rule would require these families to make a heartbreaking choice – endure family separation so that eligible members could continue to qualify for critical subsidized housing programs or stay together and forfeit any housing assistance. This is a choice no family should be forced to make.
3. The Proposed Rule Would Harm Vulnerable Populations and the Agencies that Serve Them. The proposed rule is not only contrary to law, but it is in tension with the dignity of the person and the common good that we are called to support. If implemented, the influx of increased need derived from the impact of this proposed rule would be devastating to the low-income populations we serve. Under the proposed rule, Catholic Charities and other social service agencies would be required to terminate assistance for mixed-status families and potentially be forced to push eligible residents, including children and seniors, out of the household. In addition, the loss of housing would create the need for services that might not have been necessary with stable housing.
The rule will also have disproportionate impacts in California, Texas, and New York, with over 72% of affected mixed-status families residing in these three states.
i HUD, Regulatory Impact Analysis, Amendments to Further Implement Provisions of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, Docket No. FR-6124-P-01, at 1 (Apr. 15, 2019); see also Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 1436(a).
ii See Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 1436(a).
iii Please note, Section 235, Section 236, and the Rent Supplement programs are no longer active. However, certain housing units that benefitted from the programs may still be on the market and could potentially affected by this proposed rule.
iv “Public and Indian Housing,” Department of Housing and Urban Development, July 1, 2019, available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing.
v “Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet,” Department of Housing and Urban Development, July 1, 2019, available at: https://www.hud.gov/topics/housing_choice_voucher_program_section_8.
vi “Renewal of Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance,” Housing and Urban Development, July 1, 2019, available at: https://www.hud.gov/hudprograms/rs8pbra.
vii “Grants Information,” Department of Housing and Urban Development, July 1, 2019, available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/spm/gmomgmt/grantsinfo
viii Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Promulgated by Pope Paul VI, no. 26 (December 7, 1965).
ix Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status, 84 Fed. Reg. 20,589 (May 10, 2019), available at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-05-10/pdf/2019-09566.pdf.
x Justice for Immigrants, “HUD’s Proposed Rule on Housing Assistance” Webinar, June 27, 2019, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Lp8aURqBTY&feature=youtu.be.
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