Interests are rising in Orange County on the issue of state and federal housing agencies. There is a big demand for Section 8 housing. There has been discussion of possible plans for housing aid to go to those who qualify. Section 8 is a program that provides rental insurance. It’s main objective is to help low-income families. The federal Department of Housing and Development has been pressuring Congress to approve President Clinton’s proposed 28 million dollar HUD budget for the next year.
If this HUD budget was approved, 100,000 new, Section 8 rental vouchers and 84,000 affordable housing projects would help aid low-income families. The Orange County Housing Authority has been talking of many plans to help take some of the burden off Section 8. Each of the county’s four housing authorities set the standards of who gets a voucher first when there is an opening. When a person is on the waiting list for a voucher he/she has to wait for a person that is in the Section 8 program to die, leave the program, or any other reason.
When someone leaves the program, the spot if filled by a person on the waiting list. Section 8 vouchers can be used anywhere in the United States. Any tenants that belong to the Section 8 program have landlords that are required to keep the rent below the cap. Landlords comply with Section 8 because it provides a relatively stable tenant. One of the plans being considered is that the OCHA plans to lobby HUD officials to increase rent caps in the most expensive cities.
New rules would be implemented that would govern rent subsidies to help tenants who suffer from rent raises. Over the next year, these new rules will take effect that will allow tenants to pay as much as 50 percent of their income on rent. OCHA officials have been saying that they will try to execute these rules so those tenants are able to stay in an apartment where the landlord raises the rent above HUD’s cap.
Another plan that the OCHA proposes to do is a better job of marketing of the Section 8 program to local landlords. I agree with the plans that OCHA is proposing to Congress. Housing is very expensive in Orange County and it is difficult for low-income families to survive. The Section 8 system is obviously getting overwhelmed with people that need assistance. There needs to be something done and I believe that the 28 million dollar proposal is a great start to relieve some of the pressure off of Section 8.