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MEEK INTRODUCES AFFORDABLE HOUSING IMPROVEMENT ACT
Thursday, April 18, 2002 - Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, (D-Miami, FL)
has introduced the Affordable Housing Improvement Act, a bill designed to improve
the quality and increase the number of available affordable housing units throughout
"America's affordable housing shortage is getting worse, not better,"
said Rep. Meek. "Communities all over the country receive federal funds to
help low income people rent decent homes, but there aren't enough affordable, decent
homes around. As a result, lower income people go without housing, and the funds
that are supposed to help them go back to Washington unused. My bill insures that
federal low income housing funds provide decent, affordable housing in the communities
that need it."
Rep. Meek's bill, H.R. 4205, would enable local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) to
transfer unused federal Section 8 housing assistance funds to programs where it
can be put to work building and rehabilitating housing for low-income people.
A recent study by the Family Housing Fund (FHF) discovered that nationwide over
12.5 million individuals live in households with "worst-case" housing
needs. FHF also found that in the past two years, nearly 1.5 million affordable
housing units have been lost nationwide. These include unsubsidized units where
rents have increased, privately owned housing where owners have opted out of federal
subsidy programs, and public housing that has been demolished but not replaced.
Rep. Meek's bill would give Public Housing Agencies (PHA) the ability to transfer
unused Section 8 funds to its HOME Investment Partnership Act or Public Housing
Section 8, a federal housing voucher program allows individuals and families to
rent decent, safe, affordable housing ,while the HOME Investment Partnership Act
is a public/private partnership that provides down payment assistance to low and
moderate income families and provides funds to construct new low cost housing and
rental units. PHA's use Public Housing Capital funds to modernize, improve, and
build more public housings.
Every year communities around the country lose Section 8 dollars because federally
subscribed voucher payments have not kept pace with rapidly rising rents making
it impossible for individuals to use these subsidies. In 2001 HUD recaptured $1.8
billion dollars in unused Section 8 funds from Public Housing Agencies throughout
the nation, including more than $23 million from the Miami-Dade Housing Authority.
Rep. Meek's bill would let local communities attack their affordable housing problem
by allowing them to use these scare federal resources to improve and construct new
affordable housing units.