HUD proposal puts tens of thousands of families at risk; comment period ends Tuesday


July 9, 2019

Editor’s note: CHN Intern Rebekah Kim Jong is a rising senior at Liberty University. Her major is International Relations, and her minors are Chinese and Business.

The Trump Administration wants to rip apart tens of thousands of families. Through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it has proposed prohibiting mixed-status families from receiving housing assistance. Mixed-status families are families that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status.

The proposal has been published for review, and public comments are being accepted until tonight, Tuesday, July 9, 11:59 p.m. ET.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), this rule would result in more than “100,000 people in 25,000 families—including 58,000 children—(making) the agonizing choice between splitting up and losing the assistance that helps them keep a roof over their heads.” A common misconception is that people automatically assume ineligible immigrants are “illegal or undocumented,” but that is incorrect; various legal statuses can still render immigrants ineligible for housing assistance. Currently, mixed-families are allowed to live in a subsidized housing unit, with a lower total subsidy because of the ineligible immigrants, but the new rule would prohibit this.

Furthermore, this rule would affect U.S citizens as well. The National Housing Law Project and National Low Income Housing Coalition estimate that more than 9 million citizens and 120,000 elderly immigrants currently receiving assistance would have to provide documentation of their citizenship or immigration status. This is a challenging process for the elderly or people with disabilities; failure to provide required documentation could result in the eviction of people who need the most help.

The Trump Administration’s proposal is but the latest attack on vulnerable communities already on edge. Just imagine: you’re struggling to provide adequately for your family and yourself, only to be pulled away from your loved ones or being forced to live without shelter. This may become a gruesome reality for tens of thousands of people.

People immigrate to the U.S for various reasons. However, even if they have left their home for a more desirable life, immigrants continuously encounter challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, employment, and continuous adjustments to new settings.

For immigrant families, the home allows parents and kids to connect and understand each other in a safe place, where kids feel loved and cared for. Stable living conditions affect people both physically and mentally. According to Dr. Arthur C. Evans, Jr., CEO of the American Psychological Association, “immigrants experience unique stressors related to the conditions that led them to flee their home countries, the often traumatic journey to the United States, and the ongoing stress of starting a new life away from their family and culture.” On top of this existing stress, thousands of families soon could be forced to choose between separating from their own kids, or risking homelessness by moving out of their assisted housing.

The Trump Administration presented this proposal as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. Splitting families will not solve this problem. Federal housing programs are prorated limited to only eligible individuals in the house, and replacing these families with households that consist of all eligible members would actually require more funding.

To effectively alleviate the affordable housing crisis, Congress should increase funding for housing assistance, rather than instigate panic and fear.

You can help protect tens of thousands of families and children by submitting comments to HUD. Again, the deadline to submit comments is before midnight, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.