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Thread: Proposed Housing cuts-NY TIMES

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    [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/22/nyregion/22housing.html?pagewanted=1]http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/22/nyregion...ml?pagewanted=1[/url]

    U.S. Seeks Cuts in Housing Aid to Urban Poor
    By DAVID W. CHEN

    NY TIMES

    Published: September 22, 2004


    The Bush administration has proposed reducing the value of subsidized-housing vouchers given to poor residents in New York City next year, with even bigger cuts planned for some urban areas in New England. The proposal is based on a disputed new formula that averages higher rents in big cities with those of suburban areas, which tend to have lower costs.

    The proposals could have a "significantly detrimental impact" in some areas by forcing poor families to pay hundreds of extra dollars per month in rent, according to United States Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican. That extra burden could be too much for thousands of tenants, "potentially leaving them homeless," Mr. Shays wrote in a recent letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    The changes would affect most of the 1.9 million families who participate in the Section 8 program, the government's primary housing program for the poor, including 110,000 in New York City. People in the program receive vouchers to help them rent private apartments from landlords who agree to participate.

    For a four-bedroom apartment in New York City, HUD has proposed that the fair market rent be reduced from $1,504 a month to $1,286, a drop of more than 14 percent. For practical purposes, that means that a tenant must find an extra $218 to stay in that apartment, or else find something cheaper. A voucher for a three-bedroom apartment would be cut by 7 percent, with smaller cuts for smaller units.

    In an interview last night, two top HUD officials - Michael Liu, assistant secretary for public and Indian housing; and Cathy M. MacFarlane, assistant secretary for public affairs - attributed the new national numbers to fresh data from the 2000 census and a new system that averages a city's rents with those of its surrounding suburbs.

    Last month, however, the housing secretary, Alphonso Jackson, suggested a somewhat different rationale for the need to change the Section 8 program, which he said was growing too fast and eating away at other programs. In an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, he wrote that the housing voucher system was broken and wedded to a fair-market-rent formula that did not reflect current conditions. Many rental markets around the nation have softened, he wrote, and vacancy rates in some areas are at their highest rate in decades.

    Those trends, however, are not reflected uniformly around the nation, and particularly not in the New York area.

    The new proposal, for example, concludes that fair market rents in two fast-growing cities, Las Vegas and Houston, should increase up to 11 and 7 percent, respectively, while rents in two New England cities, Boston and New Haven, should drop as much as 27 and 21 percent for large apartments. And yet, the proposal also suggests that the figure in New York should fall by almost 15 percent for big apartments, even though local data indicate that housing prices are climbing steadily.

    Fair market rents function as the statistical benchmark for many housing programs, most prominently Section 8. As such, the dispute over the new formula represents the latest chapter of an escalating struggle over Section 8, which the Bush administration has declared is too expensive.

    "Like hurricanes in the Atlantic, assaults on the housing voucher program by the Bush administration have been unrelenting," wrote Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in the group's most recent weekly newsletter to its 5,000 members. "Any program will break apart if battered hard and often enough. If the program can be so destabilized that landlords, lenders and developers will give up on it, it will much easier to cut down."

    The fair market rent issue is the latest of several proposed cuts in federal programs that would disproportionately affect New York and the Northeast, including an overall cut to the Section 8 budget - later restored for New York City - and a new financing system for public housing developments.

    The rent drop in New York also echoes the projected drop in Medicare payments to the city's hospitals, under new national boundaries drawn up by the White House Office of Management and Budget, and recommended for all federal agencies. Those new boundaries would add Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties, where costs are lower, to New York City, where costs are higher, thereby lowering the city's average portion.

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    This being a presidential year, some housing groups have noted that many predominantly Democratic states, including New York and Massachusetts, fare poorly under these new proposals, while Republican states, like Texas and Georgia, tend to benefit.

    But Dennis Shea, assistant secretary for HUD's office of policy development and research, said it was "absolutely false" that politics colored the calculations. In fact, he said that career civil servants prepared the fair market rents in accordance with technical requirements, as required by law.

    Yet Mr. Shea did strike a conciliatory tone in reiterating that the proposals were just that - proposals, which were published for comment in the Federal Register last month. He said that HUD was working closely with the White House Office of Management and Budget to review the proposed rents before the publication of the final rules on Oct. 1.

    Noting that HUD had received more than 300 comments, Mr. Shea added: "We're sensitive to the concerns raised by some of the communities and some public housing officials. We're trying to come up with a solution that is as fair as possible."

    Tenants contribute 30 percent of their income to the rent, while the federal government pays the landlord the rest, up to the level of the fair market rent of the area.

    Fair market rents are generally defined as the amount of money that would cover the rent, plus certain utilities, on 40 percent of the housing units in an area. Established for different bedroom sizes, they are adjusted each year, usually with little fanfare, and tend to inch up a couple of percentage points.

    The city's Rent Guidelines Board recently approved rent increases of 6.5 percent for the next two years, after studying rising costs of city landlords. HUD itself, in agreeing to restore almost all the money to New York's Section 8 budget, recently concurred that rental costs in the city had risen by 4.1 percent.

    But this year, the housing department factored in data from the 2000 Census for the first time, while applying the new geographical boundaries recommended by the Office of Management and Budget. Among other major changes, the department also reduced the rent allocation for larger apartments with three or four bedrooms, disproportionately affecting larger families.

    The proposed changes appear to be larger than in previous years. According to an analysis published last week by Barbara Sard and a colleague, Will Fischer, 99 percent of the nation's counties would be subject to increases or decreases of more than 5 percent for apartments with more than one bedroom, in contrast to 2 percent of the counties in the previous year. Ms. Sard is director of housing policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal Washington research group.

    Unless the proposed cuts are changed, some landlords say that they will have little incentive to continue to participate in the Section 8 program, a program long appreciated for its reliability.

    Vincent S. Castellano, a real estate broker specializing in Section 8 who owns a few apartments in Queens, says that he owns a two-bedroom apartment in Rockaway Beach that he had been planning to rent to a Section 8 tenant for $1,000 a month. Under the new proposals, the Section 8 fair market rents for two-bedroom apartments, minus utilities, would be $944; under the existing one, it would be above $1,000.

    "I'm going to go without Section 8," he said. "And there are going to be guys who pull out of the market, there are going to be fewer Section 8 apartments available, and there are going to be more people in the shelters."

    There is evidence, however, that the rental market is easing up in some parts of the country, including parts of the Northeast. While the average rent per square foot for apartments across the country have remained flat in the last year, they have dipped in cities like Boston (down by 1.3 percent) and Detroit (1.2 percent), according to a recent analysis by the National Real Estate Index, which is published by Global Real Analytics, a research company.

    Some smaller markets, at the same time, have seen housing costs rise.

    In Murray County, Ky., with a population of about 33,000, Murray State University has expanded its enrollment by 25 percent in the last six years and the demand for new rental housing has pushed prices up. As a result, the new proposed fair market rent for a two-bedroom of $500, an increase of $117, is more than justified, said Don Elias, the city administrator.

  2. #2
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    Booh-freaking-hoo. Section 8 is a total ripoff that allows slumlords to depreciate and expense housing stock into the ground and bill the taxpayers. Don't want to live in such conditions-it's hard, but everyone else does these simple things to avoid this-
    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    If the Times is so upset, turn their building into a shelter. And if they deregulated rental housing in NYC, the market, while it might take some time, would adjust. It's simple supply and demand.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Bugg[/i]@Sep 22 2004, 02:26 PM
    [b] Booh-freaking-hoo. Section 8 is a total ripoff that allows slumlords to depreciate and expense housing stock into the ground and bill the taxpayers. Don't want to live in such conditions-it's hard, but everyone else does these simple things to avoid this-
    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    If the Times is so upset, turn their building into a shelter. And if they deregulated rental housing in NYC, the market, while it might take some time, would adjust. It's simple supply and demand. [/b][/quote]
    This wasnt a op/ed from the Times. This was news #1.

    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    I like easy solutions to difficult problems.

  4. #4
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Bugg[/i]@Sep 22 2004, 02:26 PM
    [b] Booh-freaking-hoo. Section 8 is a total ripoff that allows slumlords to depreciate and expense housing stock into the ground and bill the taxpayers. Don't want to live in such conditions-it's hard, but everyone else does these simple things to avoid this-
    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    If the Times is so upset, turn their building into a shelter. And if they deregulated rental housing in NYC, the market, while it might take some time, would adjust. It's simple supply and demand. [/b][/quote]
    I agree with you Bugg, Welfare Programs are bad....

    But.....

    [u]1. get an education [/u](Have you seen the Public School System Lately??)
    [u]2. get a job[/u] (Where, India? Low Income Jobs are leaving (or being filled by illegals) at a terrifying pace).
    [u]3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.[/u] (100% Agreed. I'll go a step father too - if you are on welfare and get pregnant, your welfare ends immediately for trying to screw the system.)

    But like I said, I DO agree with you in general. Where there is a will, there is a way, and anyone can make themselves a success. It just takes hard work.....

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Warfish+Sep 22 2004, 02:50 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (Warfish @ Sep 22 2004, 02:50 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Bugg[/i]@Sep 22 2004, 02:26 PM
    [b] Booh-freaking-hoo. Section 8 is a total ripoff that allows slumlords to depreciate and expense housing stock into the ground and bill the taxpayers. Don&#39;t want to live in such conditions-it&#39;s hard, but everyone else does these simple things to avoid this-
    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    If the Times is so upset, turn their building into a shelter. And if they deregulated rental housing in NYC, the market, while it might take some time, would adjust. It&#39;s simple supply and demand. [/b][/quote]
    I agree with you Bugg, Welfare Programs are bad....

    But.....

    [u]1. get an education [/u](Have you seen the Public School System Lately??)
    [u]2. get a job[/u] (Where, India? Low Income Jobs are leaving (or being filled by illegals) at a terrifying pace).
    [u]3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.[/u] (100% Agreed. I&#39;ll go a step father too - if you are on welfare and get pregnant, your welfare ends immediately for trying to screw the system.)

    But like I said, I DO agree with you in general. Where there is a will, there is a way, and anyone can make themselves a success. It just takes hard work..... [/b][/quote]
    Especially if your a kid who is born addicted to smack...

  6. #6
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by 4th&Long+Sep 22 2004, 02:51 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (4th&Long @ Sep 22 2004, 02:51 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> [quote]Originally posted by Warfish@Sep 22 2004, 02:50 PM
    [b] <!--QuoteBegin-Bugg[/i]@Sep 22 2004, 02:26 PM
    [b] Booh-freaking-hoo. Section 8 is a total ripoff that allows slumlords to depreciate and expense housing stock into the ground and bill the taxpayers. Don&#39;t want to live in such conditions-it&#39;s hard, but everyone else does these simple things to avoid this-
    1. get an education;
    2. get a job;
    3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.

    If the Times is so upset, turn their building into a shelter. And if they deregulated rental housing in NYC, the market, while it might take some time, would adjust. It&#39;s simple supply and demand. [/b][/quote]
    I agree with you Bugg, Welfare Programs are bad....

    But.....

    [u]1. get an education [/u](Have you seen the Public School System Lately??)
    [u]2. get a job[/u] (Where, India? Low Income Jobs are leaving (or being filled by illegals) at a terrifying pace).
    [u]3. be responsible, like not having kids (or sex for that matter) that you cannot expect to support.[/u] (100% Agreed. I&#39;ll go a step father too - if you are on welfare and get pregnant, your welfare ends immediately for trying to screw the system.)

    But like I said, I DO agree with you in general. Where there is a will, there is a way, and anyone can make themselves a success. It just takes hard work..... [/b][/quote]
    Especially if your a kid who is born addicted to smack... [/b][/quote]
    Well, in such a case, the child should be removed, PERMANENTLY, from the Smack addicted Mother (who does NOT get welfare anymore), treated at a hospital for the addiction till it passes (doesn&#39;t take that long for newborn children, but it does suck) and then put up for adoption. The Mother (and Father, if they can figure out who he was) lose ALL LEGAL RIGHTS to this child for the gross negligence and incredibale stupidity. Period&#33;

  7. #7
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    [i]They aren&#39;t easy solutions[/i], but they are what works. Government doesn&#39;t have a magic wand, and if you&#39;re waiting for the easy solutions via government, you&#39;re breathing funection is wasting valuable air that could go to those with functional gray matter. Getting out of bed every day and breaking your ass in school and at work isn&#39;t glamorous, but it&#39;s what you have to do. Why this logic is lost on younger people is something I don&#39;t get. See that screen in front of you? it didn&#39;t fall out of the sky or come from a government bureaucracy. Somebody paid for it, along with the ISP and the connection. And that meant someone had to go to a job to get cash to do so.

    Otherwise, most of us would sit in front of ourkeyboards or on couches all day in boxer shorts, moving only occasionally to move the gathering storm of fast food containers and empty Bud tins.There is no [i]Deus ex machina[/i], except than which gets you out of bed every day.

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    Part of my business involves renting apartments to section 8 tennants. I&#39;ll tell you from experience that &#036;1250 a month is not going to cut it on a 4 bedroom apartment. In order to get a 4 bedroom voucher the tenant has to have at least 8 people living in the house. Many times its up to 10-12. The amount of wear and tear and destruction caused by those huge families simply isn&#39;t worth the trouble for the lower rent. Thats not to mention the grafiti and all the other damage constantly being done in the hallways and outside the buildings.


    Wellfare programs in general as they are currently are like addictive drugs to the poor. They become dependent on handouts to live. The programs are so lucrative for them that they have no inspiration to get off the programs. Example. If wellfare pays you &#036;18,000 in incentives per year for doing nothing, and you get offered a job that pays &#036;22,000 for full time work what would you choose. Most would just continue to take the free money. The Democrats have consciously set the system up this way in order to keep their canned voters. If the poor Blacks and Hispanics better themselves it would add up to less votes for the democrats. It is in the Democrats bes interest to keep Blacks and Hispanics down. Like the crack dealer on the corner who tries to keep his customers coming back for more.

    Its liberalism at its best.

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    I hate to say it because I currently benefit from the section 8 program down here but IMHO they need to make some serious adjustments to the program because it&#39;s just not right.

    I own a couple of 3 bedroom townhomes and if possible rent them out to section 8 tenants for a variety of reasons { guarenteed check being 1st and foremost } but they make it way too easy for these tenants to live WELL while on the program and offer no incentives or initiatives to get people off the program.

    True story.....I rent one of the townhomes to a 25 yr old girl who was never married and has 2 children { 8 and 6 }, She moved in about 5 years ago and works 3 or 4 nights a week waitressing, A couple of weeks ago I saw her coming out of Starbucks with a Large Coffee which she told me she HAS to have EVERY day before she heads to the GYM where she&#39;s been a member for the last year or so to get her PRIVATE WORKOUT... so... she hops off in her 2001 CAMRY to continue her " hectic "...{ her words...not mine } day.

    She has excess money for the essentials I see her getting { TATOO&#39;s and BELLY PIERCINGS } and has the telephone #&#39;s for Domino&#39;s and the local chinese takeout place in a prominant spot on the fridge, nothing for nothing but if this is the state of our nations poor I think the taxpayers have done enough already &#33;

    Meanwhile.....the state pays her ENTIRE &#036; 1500.00 per month nut and as far as I can tell will continue to do so for as long as she wants them to which if she has her druthers will be...FOREVER...I don&#39;t understand why they don&#39;t find some way to tie her payments to continuing education or working toward full time meaningful employment so the taxpayers don&#39;t have to continue to carry her and she&#39;ll be better off in the long run but they don&#39;t so she&#39;s perfectly content.....Seems to me like the system needs to be looked at closely cause I thought it was supposed to be a safety net...not a decent way of life.

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    The reason they don&#39;t fix the system is because they want to keep the poor people dependent. Its all designed by "the man" (democrats) to keep their canned voted coming in from the poor.

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