In a major overhaul of the rental-housing system Ben Carson has proposed to increase rents for low-income earners and establish minimum work requirements to meet the Trump administration’s push to link anti-poverty programs to employment. Rental assistance recipients currently spend about 30 percent of their adjusted income on housing, with subsidies picking up the rest. Under the proposal HUD is sending to Congress, recipients would have to contribute 35 percent of their gross income or 35 percent of their income from working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage. The frequency of verification would be extended from one year to three years.
As rent costs continue to rise, more and more of HUD’s budget is eaten up assisting the same number of families — one of the reasons the administration has given for overhauling rental assistance. The Housing and Urban Development department supplies 4.5 million families with assistance. Only one in four families who apply for public-housing actually get it. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that currently no individual earning the minimum wage in any city can afford a two bedroom apartment.