The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) headed by Ben Carson, has seen a slight increase in homelessness this year. This marks the first time HUD has seen this trend in seven years (since 2010). According to The Washington Post:
‘The Department of Housing and Urban Development released new data last week showing that homelessness may have inched up slightly, based on an annual count of homeless people during one night in January. Although not perfect, this is the best measurement we have to get an overall picture of homelessness and how it changes year to year.’
‘This case is about the rule of law—whether an agency effectively may suspend a duly promulgated regulation without observing the procedures or identifying relevant factual criteria that the law requires to effect such a change.’
She went on to explain:
‘The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (‘HUD’), without notice and comment or particularized evidentiary findings, has delayed almost entirely by two years implementation of a rule requiring over 200 local Public Housing Authorities (‘PHAs’) in 24 metropolitan areas, which HUD selected based on fixed, objective criteria, to calculate housing vouchers’ values based on local, rather than metropolitan-wide, prevailing market rents.’
To give further explanation of how housing subsidies are calculated, the Small Area Fair Market Rent rule would have required public housing officials to calculate subsidies for rent based on zip codes, rather than for entire metropolitan areas. There is quite a difference.
The current law provides that entire metropolitan areas be used to calculate the formulas. However, some groups argue that this leads to low-income people who use the subsidies being forced to live in areas with few opportunities.
Judge Howell also wrote:
‘The Rule … unquestionably is a substantive regulation delay of which ordinarily would require notice and comment. HUD, however, did not delay the Rule’s implementation through notice and comment. Thus, HUD’s action was lawful only if another source of authority empowered HUD to delay the Rule’s implementation without notice or comment.’
‘That includes a housing-first approach that focuses on getting people in stable housing first and then supports those in need of mental health services or treatment for drug addiction — sometimes even in permanent arrangements. It also includes providing help, especially in the form of vouchers, to low-income families that can’t afford housing prices. And it includes focusing on helping sub-populations in need of assistance, particularly veterans.’
Now, Judge Howell has ordered that HUD not delay actions that are going to help people find much-needed housing, despite the fact that the Trump administration does not seem to care about the low-income population, which is going to increase under Trump’s policies especially the latest GOP tax reform bill.
Here is what Twitter had to say about the ruling:
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