The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program: Reform Proposals in the 108th and 109th Congresses

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program:
Reform Proposals in the
108 and 109 Congresses
Updated May 16, 2007
Maggie McCarty
Analyst in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program:
Reform Proposals in the 108th and 109th Congresses
The Bush Administration has proposed eliminating the Section 8 Housing
Choice Voucher program and replacing it with a new program in each of the past
several years. While the specifics have changed, each proposal would significantly
alter key features of the current program, including its administration, funding
distribution, tenant contributions toward rent, initial and ongoing eligibility of
families, and the eligible uses of program funds.
The first proposal was referenced in the President’s FY2004 budget request and
was later introduced in the 108th Congress (H.R. 1841/S. 947). Called the Housing
Assistance for Needy Families Act of 2003, it would have created a new block grant
administered by states — rather than the local public housing authorities (PHAs) that
administer the current program — and eliminated many of the current rules
governing the program. Hearings were held on the legislation, although no further
action was taken.
Language to enact the second proposal, called the Flexible Voucher Program
(FVP), was included in the Administrative Provisions section of the President’s
FY2005 budget request. Under the FVP, PHAs would have retained administration
of the new grant program, although most of the federal Section 8 voucher rules and
regulations would have been eliminated. The Appropriations Committees did not
include the language in their versions, nor the final version, of the FY2005 HUD
budget, and authorizing legislation was not introduced before the close of the 108th
The President’s FY2006 budget request again called for enactment of a Flexible
Voucher Program. During the first session of the 109th Congress, a modified version
of the FVP was included as Title I of the State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of
2005 (H.R. 1999/S. 771). The President’s FY2007 budget request reiterated the
Administration’s support for the bill. The House Financial Services Committee held
hearings on the bill, although no further action was taken before the close of the 109th
In the second session of the 109th Congress, the House Financial Services
Committee approved a bipartisan Section 8 voucher reform bill, the Section 8
Voucher Reform Act of 2006 (H.R. 5443). While notably narrower in scope than the
President’s reform proposals, it would have represented the first major reform of the
program since the Quality Housing and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of

1998 (P.L. 105-276). It was not enacted before the close of the 109th Congress.

This report includes a table comparing the key features of the reform proposals
from the 109th Congress. It will not be updated.

Current Program Features...........................................1
Administration ................................................1
Eligible Uses of Funds..........................................2
Tenant Rents.................................................3
Calculation of Income..........................................4
Eligibility ....................................................5
Work Requirements and Time Limits..............................5
Funding Allocation............................................7
Reform Proposals..................................................7
Proposals from the 108th Congress.................................8
Housing Assistance for Needy Families (HANF).................8
The FY2005 Flexible Voucher Program........................8th
Proposals from the 109 Congress.................................9
The State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005..............9
The Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006.....................9
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Features of Recent Reform Proposals
Compared to Current Law......................................11

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program:
Reform Proposals in the
108 and 109 Congresses
Current Program Features
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has come under increasing
criticism from the Administration and Congress for its cost and its complexity.
Recent changes in the way the program is funded have largely addressed concerns at
the federal level about “spiraling costs”; however, the new funding structure has not
reduced budget pressures for the local public housing authorities (PHAs) that
administer the program.1 Noting these concerns, the Administration has argued in
each of the past several years that the existing Section 8 voucher program should be
dismantled and replaced with a new, broader-purpose grant program. Thus far, low-
income housing advocates and PHA groups have generally opposed the
Administration’s reform initiatives, although both have begun to call for some type
of reform to lessen the administrative burdens on PHAs and to help them better
administer their voucher programs in a budget-constrained environment. The
Administration’s reform proposals have changed over the years, and they have
differed substantially from the reform proposals supported by PHA groups and low-
income housing advocates. Despite their differences, each proposal would alter
several key features of the current program, which are discussed below.
The current Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and its approximately
2 million vouchers, are administered by more than 2,500 local PHAs across the
country. PHAs vary greatly both in their size and their capacity. Some administer
as few as 10 vouchers, while one PHA, the New York City Housing Authority,
administers almost 90,000. Half of all PHAs administer 250 or fewer vouchers.2
Some PHAs have a full-time director and a large staff; others have one person
serving part-time as director and staff.
This heterogeneity has been criticized by some researchers, housing advocates,
and the Administration. They argue that housing markets are regional, and thus that

1 For more information, see CRS Report RL33929, Recent Changes to Section 8 Housing
Voucher Renewal Funding, by Maggie McCarty.
2 Written Testimony, Michael Liu, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing,
Department of Housing and Urban Development, hearing before the Housing and
Community Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, May

22, 2003.

housing programs should be administered on a regional level. They point out that
most other social service programs serving the low-income population — such as
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Care Assistance, and Food Stamps
— are administered at the state level. If the voucher program were administered at
the state level, they contend, it might be easier to coordinate it with other services.
The organizations representing PHAs have disagreed, arguing in favor of the
current locally driven and focused system. PHAs have important local connections
with entities ranging from landlords to local zoning boards, connections that states,
they contend, would not have.3 Furthermore, they have expertise in administering
federal housing assistance for the poor both through the voucher program and the
federal public housing program.
Eligible Uses of Funds
Today’s voucher program provides a defined subsidy, called a voucher, that a
family can use to help pay its housing costs in the private market. That voucher pays
roughly the difference between rent and the tenant’s contribution.4 In some cases,
families can use their vouchers to help pay for a mortgage, but only if their local PHA
chooses to run a homeownership voucher program. The bulk of PHA funding, which
comes from HUD, is used to renew vouchers. No funds have been provided for new
vouchers since 2002.5 PHAs earn administrative fees, which they can use for other
purposes, such as providing supportive services, downpayment or security deposit
assistance, or housing search assistance. This system is governed by hundreds of
pages of regulations and guidance that make the program, some argue, overly
prescriptive and difficult to administer. The Administration and PHAs agree that the
current structure limits the ability to undertake innovative initiatives.
Reflecting this concern, the Bush administration has proposed redefining the
concept of a voucher by instead providing funds that could be used for rental
assistance, homeownership assistance, and supportive services, as defined by the
grantee. A “voucher” would no longer have uniform meaning, and PHAs could
provide more or less generous assistance to families at their discretion, outside of
most current federal rules (i.e., quality standards, portability, income targeting,
income-based rent, etc.). Such a reform would be consistent with the 1996 welfare

3 National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), NAHRO Direct
News: Section 8, May 29, 2003, attachment C.
4 The actual calculation of the value of a voucher is more complicated than presented here.
See later discussions under the headings “Tenant Rent” and “Calculation of Income.”
5 While no new vouchers (often referred to as incremental vouchers) have been funded since
2002, Congress has funded new tenant protection vouchers every year. Tenant protection
vouchers are provided to families that had been receiving other forms of housing assistance,
but are losing that assistance through no fault of their own (such as when public housing is
demolished or when the long-term contract on a project-based Section 8 property is
expiring). While the addition of new tenant protection vouchers does increase the number
of families receiving vouchers, it does not necessarily increase the number of families
receiving housing assistance, since the families that receive them had been previously
assisted through another program.

reform law that abolished the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
program and replaced it with a broader-purpose Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) block grant.
Critics of this type of administrative flexibility at the PHA level contend that
many of the current rules governing the voucher program are designed to protect
voucher recipients. They worry that the needs of low-income families could go
unmet if federal rules are abandoned, especially if funding is constrained and PHAs
are forced to make difficult tradeoffs. Some further contend that without strong
oversight, broad block grants could be open to waste, fraud and abuse.
Tenant Rents
Under the current rules of the voucher program, families are required to pay
roughly 30% of their adjusted incomes toward rent.6 It is generally accepted that
housing is affordable for low-income families if it costs no more than 30% of their
adjusted gross income, on the assumption that low-income families need the full
remaining 70% to meet their other needs. However, this figure is somewhat
arbitrary. For some families with little work, transportation, medical, child care, or
other outside costs, 40% or even 50% of income might be a reasonable contribution
toward housing costs. In fact, the current voucher program allows families to choose
to pay up to 40% of their incomes toward housing costs initially, and even greater
amounts upon renewal of a lease. For other families, with high expenses for work,
transportation, medical, child care, or other outside costs, some percentage lower than

30% might be the most reasonable contribution.

Critics of the current rent calculation, including the Bush Administration and
some PHA groups, have argued that PHAs should have the flexibility to modify the
existing income-based rent system or adopt new systems partially or fully decoupled
from income, such as flat or tiered rents. Under flat rents, families pay a PHA-
determined, fixed below-market rent, based on unit size, regardless of their incomes.
As incomes change, rent would stay the same. Current law permits PHAs to set flat
rents for public housing. Families are permitted to choose to pay flat rents, but must
be permitted to switch back to income-based rents. Under tiered rents, PHAs set
different flat rents for broad tiers of income. Families pay the rent charged for their
income tier, and only fluctuations in income that move them from one tier to another
would change their rent. Unless flat or tiered rents were set low, the change would
generally result in shallower subsidies paid to families. Shallower subsidies would
allow PHAs either to save money or serve more people with the same amount of
money, depending on the authority provided by HUD and Congress.
Another argument in favor of moving from an income-based rent to a flat rent
concerns administrative ease. The current complicated rent calculation, paired with
the difficulty of verifying the incomes of tenants, has led to high levels of error in the
subsidy calculation. According to a HUD 2001 Quality Control study, 60% of all

6 The formula is actually more complicated. Families must pay the higher of 30% of
adjusted income, 10% of gross income, the amount of welfare benefits designated for
housing costs, or PHA minimum rents (which can be no higher than $50 a month).

rent and subsidy calculations contained some type of error. HUD has estimated an
annual $2 billion in subsidy over- and under-payments in the Section 8 voucher
program. These errors have led the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to
designate the Section 8 program a “high risk” program, meaning that it is particularly
susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse. Beginning with the FY2003 Consolidated
Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-7), HUD was given access to the National Directory
of New Hires, a database that may allow PHAs to better verify income data. There
has been some improvement. A 2003 Quality Control study released in 2004 found
a 37% reduction in erroneous payments from 2001, although 40% of subsidies were
still erroneously calculated. Adopting flat or tiered rents could substantially reduce
— if not eliminate — errors in rent calculations.
Another argument in favor of a flat rent structure involves the work
disincentives inherent in the current calculation. Since rent goes up as income goes
up, families have a disincentive to increase earnings and/or an incentive to hide
income. Families, therefore, face an effective 30% tax on any increase in earnings.
To get around this problem in the Public Housing program, Congress has instituted
a mandatory income disregard; however, no such mandatory disregard exists in the
voucher program, except in the case of certain disabled recipients.7 If PHAs choose
to disregard increased earnings, they must pay the difference out of their own budgets
or face sanctions from HUD for not accurately calculating subsidies. Under flat or
tiered rents, families can generally increase their earnings without facing changes in
their rents.
Low-income housing advocates generally support income-based rents over flat
rents. Flat rents are not as responsive to changes in family income as income-based
rents, and their adoption could result in some families paying much more toward rent
than is generally considered affordable (30% of income).
Calculation of Income
Under the current voucher program, rent is based on a family’s annual adjusted
income. The current system for calculating income has been criticized as
cumbersome and prone to errors.
Annual income, for the purpose of rent determination, is all amounts that are
anticipated to be received by all members of a household during the subsequent 12
months, with some exclusions (such as foster care payments).8 Anticipating low-
income families’ future incomes can be very difficult, as their employment is often
variable. The composition of a family may also be variable, with members joining
or leaving the household over the course of a year. Further, PHAs are expected to
verify families’ incomes using third-party sources, which can be a time-consuming

7 For more information, see the National Housing Law Project’s Earned Income Disregard
Packet for Public Housing Voucher Program and Other HUD Programs, available at
[ html/ pubhsg/ eid_packet.htm] .
8 Summarized from 24 CFR 5.609.

process.9 Once the total amount of income has been determined, the family may
qualify to have certain amounts deducted from total income, such as $480 per
dependent, $400 for elderly and disabled households, and reasonable child care
expenses, disability expenses, and certain medical expenses of the elderly or
disabled. 10
The complexity of the income determination system is a major factor behind the
high rates of error in rent determination. Many of the current requirements are
regulatory, rather than statutory, and PHA groups have called on HUD to simplify the
process. HUD has stated that it is looking at ways to improve the income calculation
process,11 although no major administrative changes have been made.
The current voucher program sets initial eligibility for assistance at the very
low-income level (50% or below of area median income (AMI)), with a requirement
that 75% of all vouchers be targeted to extremely low-income families (30%, or
below AMI).12 The Administration has advocated raising eligibility levels and
loosening targeting requirements. They argue that both penalize working families by
limiting their eligibility for assistance. Further, serving higher income families could
result either in cost savings or the ability to serve more families with the same
amount of money. Low-income housing advocates generally support retaining
current income eligibility and targeting requirements. They argue that the lowest-
income households face the heaviest rent burdens and are the most in need of
Work Requirements and Time Limits
The voucher program does not currently have time limits or work requirements.
Families that receive voucher assistance can retain that assistance until either they
choose to leave the program; they are forced to leave the program (due to non-
compliance with program rules or insufficient funding); or their income rises to the
point that 30% of their income equals their housing costs, at which point their
subsidy is zero. The Public Housing program does have a mandatory eight-hour
work or community service requirement for non-elderly, non-disabled tenants;
however, most public housing residents are exempted, and it is unclear how
thoroughly the provision has been implemented.13

9 See 24 CFR 982.516 (a).
10 See 24 CFR 5.611 for a list of deductions.
11 See Government Accountability Office (GAO), Progress and Challenges in Measuring
and Reducing Improper Rent Subsidies, GAO-05-224, Chapter 5.
12 For example, 50% of AMI in Missoula, MT was $24,050, and 30% was $14,450 in 2005.
Fifty percent of AMI in San Francisco, CA was $50,900, and 30% was $30,550 in 2005.
13 For more information on the community service/work requirement in public housing, see
CRS Report RS21591, Community Service Requirement for Residents of Public Housing,

Some have advocated setting time limits for receipt of voucher assistance and
making work a requirement for ongoing eligibility. They argue that under the current
system, families have no incentive to increase their incomes or work efforts and leave
the program. This concern is exacerbated by the fact that many communities have
long waiting lists for assistance, and since new vouchers have not been funded for
several years, turnover in the current program is the only way to bring in new
Adopting a work requirement in the voucher program may help encourage non-
elderly, non-disabled households that are not currently working to go to work,
although it may not increase their incomes. Research based on the 1996 welfare
reform changes (P.L. 104-193) indicates that for many poor families, increases in
work do not necessarily translate into greater total income, and most households need
work supports (such as child care and transportation assistance) in order to make
them successful in becoming financially self-sufficient.14 Such supportive services
are not currently part of the voucher program, and would require additional funding.
Furthermore, there is evidence that families with children, those most likely to
be affected by work requirements and time limits, leave the program relatively
quickly. According to HUD research from 2003, the median length of stay for
families with children is two and a half years.15 Further, it is unclear how low-
income families would meet their housing costs after leaving the program if their
incomes had not risen significantly. HUD conducted research looking at families
with children who left the voucher program over a five-year period, and found that
less than 1% of them had incomes sufficient to afford an apartment at the fair market
rent in their community.16
Another option would give incentives to families to increase their work efforts
and therefore their incomes. Non-elderly, non-disabled families could be encouraged
to find and increase work through expansions in the Family Self-Sufficiency
program, which provides work supports and deposits tenant rent increases resulting
from work into escrow accounts on their behalf. Low-income housing advocates
generally support expanding the FSS program, which encourages work and increases
in earnings. However, expanding FSS would not result in cost savings, since as
families’ incomes rise, their rent increases are deposited in an escrow account.

13 (...continued)
by Maggie McCarty.
14 See CRS Report RL30797, Trends in Welfare, Work and the Economic Well-Being of
Female-Headed Families with Children: 1987-2002, by Thomas Gabe.
15 Jeffery Lubell, et al. Work Participation and Length of Stay in HUD-Assisted Housing,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and
Research, Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, Volume 6, Number

2, 2003.

16 Department of Housing and Urban Development, Performance and Accountability Report,
FY2004, p.2-65.

Funding Allocation
Prior to FY2003, HUD reimbursed PHAs for the actual cost of their vouchers.
The cost of a voucher is equal to roughly the difference between the rent (capped by
a maximum set by the PHA and called the payment standard) and the tenant’s
contribution toward the rent (30% of the tenant’s income). PHAs’ costs fluctuate as
tenants’ incomes and market rents increased or decreased, and each year, HUD would
ask Congress for funding sufficient to cover what HUD anticipated it would take to
fund PHAs’ costs.
Due partly to changes in the rental market and partly to changes in the rules of
the voucher program (such as increases in the payment standard), PHAs’ actual costs
began rising rapidly in 2002 and 2003.17 This raised concerns for both the
Administration and Congress. Partly in response to these cost increases, the
Administration proposed potentially cost-saving changes in both the way that PHAs
received funds and in the underlying factors that led to the cost growth, including the
amount tenants were asked to contribute toward rent and the maximum payment
standard as a part of each of their reform proposals.
Congress reacted by changing only the way that PHAs receive their funding.
Rather than being reimbursed for their actual costs, PHAs in recent years have
received a budget based on what they received in the previous year.18 This new
funding formula has led to problems for many PHAs, whose actual costs are still
driven by the difference between rents and incomes in their communities while their
funding is capped. As a result, some PHA groups have called for either a change
back to an actual cost funding formula or changes to the structure of the voucher
program that would allow them to better control their costs.
Reform Proposals
Every year since 2003, the President has proposed eliminating the Section 8
voucher program and replacing it with a new initiative. Bills to enact the President’s
reform have been introduced in Congress, although no further action has been taken.
In 2006, a bipartisan voucher reform bill, which would have modified the voucher
program but largely retained its current structure, was approved by the House
Financial Services Committee, but no further action was taken before the close of the
109th Congress. Proposals from the 108th and 109th Congresses are discussed briefly
below; a comparison of bills from the 109th Congress to current law can be found in
Table 1.

17 See Government Accountability Office, Policy Decisions and Market Factors Explain
Changes in the Costs of the Section 8 Programs, April 2006.
18 See CRS Report RS22376, Changes to Section 8 Housing Voucher Renewal Funding,
FY2003-FY2006, by Maggie McCarty.

Proposals from the 108th Congress
Housing Assistance for Needy Families (HANF). The 2003 HANFth
program (H.R. 1841 and S. 947, 108 Congress) was a Bush Administration initiative
that would have replaced the existing tenant-based voucher program that is
administered by local PHAs with a formula grant to states. Rather than receiving
funding for a fixed number of units, states would have received a fixed budget,
proportional to the amount of funds the state was receiving under the Housing Choice
Voucher program. States would have had broad discretion in how they used their
funds, including for homeownership purposes. The Secretary of HUD would have
been permitted to lower the 75% targeting requirement to 55%, impose minimum
rents, increase eligibility to 80% of area median income, and reduce the frequency
of housing quality inspections from annually to every three years.
Low-income housing advocates opposed HANF out of concern that it could lead
to an erosion of funding and that it would not serve low-income families adequately.
PHA groups opposed the proposal to transfer administration to states and also voiced
concerns about erosion in funding levels. Although multiple hearings were held, no
further action was taken, and HANF was not enacted in the 108th Congress.
The FY2005 Flexible Voucher Program. The President’s Flexibleth
Voucher Program (FVP), was first recommended in the second session of the 108
Congress in the Administrative Provisions section of the FY2005 HUD budget
request. The HUD Secretary testified that the Department did not plan to pursue
authorizing legislation. Rather, officials stated during a hearing before the VA, HUD
and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on March 4, 2004, that they
appreciated the leadership of the Appropriations Committees and were asking them
to include the provision in the FY2005 appropriations bill.
The proposal, like HANF, would have replaced the voucher program with a
broader-purpose grant program. Unlike HANF, PHAs would be asked to administer
the FVP. They would have received a fixed number of dollars that they could have
used to serve as many families as they chose, providing a broad range of assistance
ranging from cash grants to ongoing rental assistance. Adoption of FVP would have
eliminated caps on on how much families could be required to contribute towards
rent, increased income eligibility to 80% or below of AMI, and eliminated any
targeting requirements.
The House Financial Services Committee, in their Views and Estimates of the
President’s FY2005 Budget, was critical of the President’s FVP proposal. The
Chairman of the Senate VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations
Subcommittee stated in a hearing on April 1, 2004, that the Flexible Voucher
proposal was “a poor substitute for flaws in the program” and that the Committee19
would not have the “luxury of time to consider fully” the proposal. The FVP was
not enacted before the end of the 108th Congress.

19 Statement of Senator Kit Bond, VA- HUD Appropriations Subcommittee FY2005 Budget
Hearing, April 1 2004.

Proposals from the 109th Congress
The State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005. The
Administration’s State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005 (SLHFA) was
introduced in the first session of the 109th Congress by Senator Allard on April 13,

2005, and by Representative Gary Miller on April 28, 2005, as S. 771 and H.R. 1999,

respectively. The bill consisted of three titles. Title I, The Flexible Voucher Act, is
discussed further below. Title II, Public Housing Rent Flexibility and Simplification,
would have permitted PHAs to alter income and rent calculations for public housing
in the same ways as under Title I. Title III, the Moving To Work Program, would
have made the current Moving to Work demonstration a permanent program with
expanded eligibility for PHAs, and expanded waiver authority for the Secretary of
Title I of SLHFA was similar to the Flexible Voucher Program proposed by the
Administration as part of the FY2005 budget request. It would have replaced the
current voucher program with a broader-purpose grant program. PHAs would have
continued to administer the program, although if they were not meeting the
Secretary’s performance standards, their funds could be awarded to other entities
selected by the Secretary.
Under the bill, Flexible Voucher Program funds could be used for six eligible
activities: tenant-based rental assistance; project-based rental assistance; tenant-
based homeownership assistance for first-time homebuyers; self-sufficiency
activities, including escrow savings accounts; other activities, as specified by the
Secretary, in support of tenant-based, project-based, or homeownership assistance;
and administrative costs. Income eligibility, targeting, subsidy determination, and
quality inspection rules would all have been loosened, while portability and enhanced
voucher features would have been restricted. The changes in the bill would have
been phased in. The Secretary was directed to develop temporary implementing
regulations within 90 days of passage, and final regulations, not including funding
formulas, within 18 months. The Secretary was also directed to undertake negotiated
rulemaking to develop grant and administrative fee allocation formulas, to be
published within 24 months.
Hearings were held on the SLHFA in the House on May 11, 2005; hearings were
not held in the Senate. The President’s FY2007 budget request, introduced on
February 6, 2006, reiterated HUD’s support for the bill. No further action was taken
on SLHFA before the close of the 109th Congress.
The Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006. On May 22, 2006, the
Chairman of the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee of the House
Financial Services Committee introduced the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006
(H.R. 5443), a bipartisan Section 8 reform bill cosponsored by the subcommittee’s
ranking member. It was approved by the subcommittee on June 8, 2006, and by the
full committee on June 14, 2006, although no further action was taken before the
close of the 109th Congress.

Unlike the Bush Administration proposals, which sought to eliminate the
voucher program and replace it with a new program, H.R. 5443 would have retained
the basic structure of the current voucher program while implementing changes
primarily designed to make the program easier to administer. Specifically, the bill
proposed to
!modify the current definition of income to exclude imputed income
from assets;
!eliminate or replace many of the deductions and allowances from
!provide PHAs with several methods for calculating income;
!change the targeting threshold to the greater of 30% of AMI or the
poverty level;
!eliminate the gross income calculation for rent;
!modify income reexamination requirements; and
!modify the process and timing for conducting housing inspections.
Several of these administrative changes would also have affected the public
housing and project-based Section 8 programs.
H.R. 5443 would have adopted a new renewal funding formula, authorized the
use of vouchers to provide downpayment assistance, required the Secretary to
develop performance standards, and expanded and made permanent the Moving to
Work demonstration. Amendments added during full committee consideration
would have authorized a Manufactured Housing pilot, altered the treatment of certain
military pay for purposes of several housing programs, and increased the rent levels
for certain project-based vouchers in low-income housing tax credit properties.
H.R. 5443 received endorsements from PHA groups and low-income housing
advocates. As noted earlier, the bill was not enacted before the close of the 109th

Table 1. Key Features of Recent Reform Proposals Compared to Current Law
Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
on 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
inistering BodyThe majority of voucher programs areNo change from current law.PHAs would be permitted to administer the
administered by local, quasi-governmentalFlexible Voucher Program (FVP). If a PHA
public housing authorities (PHAs), althoughwere not organized or the Secretary determined
state housing agencies often serve as PHAs. the PHA was not capable of effectively
Where no PHA has been organized or whereadministering the assistance, the Secretary
the Secretary determines that the PHA iscould choose “any other entity” to administer
unwilling or unable to implement a program orthe grant. It does not limit other entities to
iki/CRS-RL33270is not performing effectively, the Secretary orpublic or private nonprofits. (Sec. 103(14))
g/wanother public or private nonprofit
s.ororganization can serve as a PHA. (42 USC
://wikipe of AssistanceThe Secretary may provide assistance to PHAsto provide tenant-based assistance to low-No change (see Downpayment Assistance).The Secretary would be permitted to providegrants to PHAs to provide tenant-based rental
httpincome families. The PHA is to use a paymentassistance, project-based rental assistance,
standard to determine the amount of assistancetenant-based homeownership assistance, and
provided to a family. (42 USC 1437f(o)(1) related assistance, including self-sufficiency
The rental assistance — or housing assistanceprograms. (Sec. 104 and 108)
payment (HAP) covers monthly rental
subsidies and utility costs. The assistance may
also be used to provide project-based
assistance and homeownership assistance. (42
USC 1437f(o)(13) and (y))
edPHAs may attach up to 20% of their vouchersSame, except would permit a higher maximumPHAs would be permitted to use up to 20% of
to existing housing units. No more than 25%rent for project-based vouchers in Low-Incometheir funds to provide project-based assistance.
of units in a building may have project-basedHousing Tax Credit Units. (Sec. 13)No more than 25% of units in a building could
vouchers attached to them. Families living inhave project-based vouchers attached to them.
units with project-based vouchers are permittedFamilies would be permitted to move after one
to move after one year. (42 USC 1437f(o)(13))year, subject to sufficient funding. (Sec. 108(b))

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
wnpayment A PHA may, in lieu of providing monthlyDownpayment assistance would be authorized,Same as H.R. 5443 (Sec. 108(c))
ance for assistance payments, provide a downpaymentnot subject to direct appropriations, for eligible
t-time homebuyersgrant for an eligible first time homebuyer lessfamilies who had been receiving assistance for
than or equal to the sum of the monthlyat least 12 months. Downpayment assistance
assistance payments the family would havewould be provided as one-time-only grants,
received for a year. The availability ofcapped at $10,000, to be used by families as a
downpayment assistance is subject to directcontribution toward downpayment and
appropriations, and since direct appropriationsreasonable closing costs. (Sec. 8)
have never been provided for this purpose,
downpayment assistance has never been
provided in the voucher program. (42 USC
g/wibilityGenerally, families are initially eligible if theyThe bill would not change income eligibility,Families would be initially eligible if they were
s.orare low income (80% or below of area medianalthough it would change the definition oflow-income, did not have significant interest in
leaklso applies to Publicincome (AMI)) and are either very low-income, which would affect eligibility (seereal property or have assets exceeding a limit
sing (PH) andincome, (at or below 50% of AMI), wereIncome below). It also sets an asset test suchset by the Secretary. (Sec. 107(a) and 202(b))
://wikied Sectionpreviously receiving assistance, or meet otherthat assistance could not be provided to
httpental Assistancecriteria established by the Secretary. (42 USCfamilies whose net family assets exceeded
RA))1437a(a) and 42 USC 1437f(o)(4))$100,000 or who had present ownership
interest in real property suitable for occupation
and in which the family had the right to reside.
(Sec. 4(a))
come Review and The PHA must review family income uponIncome would be reviewed initially andIncome would be reexamined every other year
ntinuing Eligibilityselection for assistance and annually thereafter. reexamined annually thereafter, except:and every three years for elderly or disabled
If a familys income rises above the low--families could request reexamination earlier ifhouseholds. Upon income re-examination, if
H and PBRA)income level, they may continue to receivetheir income drops by $1,500;family income were to have risen above the
assistance. (42 USC 1437a(a)(1)) If a family-income must be reexamined at any point thatlow-income level, the family would no longer
experiences a change in income, they mayincome rises more than $1,500 (increases inbe eligible for assistance. (Sec. 107 and 202(b))

request a mid-year reexamination.earned income are not counted for this purpose
unless the familys income had been
reexamined because of a drop in income);
-families on fixed incomes would be permitted

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
to self-certify their income each year for up to
three years. (Sec. 3(a))
Upon income re-examination, if family income
were to have risen above the low-income level,
the family would no longer be eligible for
assistance. (Sec. 4(a))
finition of IncomeThe term income means income from allThe bill would strike the definition and replaceThe term gross income would be defined as
sources from each member of the household, asit with a definition that includes income fromincome from all sources for each family
H and PBRA)determined in accordance with criteriaall sources, including recurring gifts andmember of a household without deductions or
prescribed by the Secretary. The definition ofreceipts, actual income from assets, and profitexclusions, notwithstanding any other
iki/CRS-RL33270income adopted in regulation includes imputedreturns on assets and excludes income inor loss from business. It excludes imputedreturns on assets, all earned income fromprovision of law. (Sec. 103(8) and 202(b))
g/wexcess of $480 for full-time students (includingdependent full-time students, other mandatory
s.orhead of household and spouse). (42 USCfederal exclusions, and other exclusions set by
leak1437a (b))the Secretary. (Sec. 3(b))
://wikiions -$400 for elderly or disabled families,Would replace current deductions with:No deductions established.

http Income-certain unreimbursed medical expenses above-$750 for each elderly or disabled family
3% of a familys income,-$500 for each minor dependent
H and PBRA)-reasonable child care expenses that allow for a-Certain unreimbursed medical expenses
family member to be employed or further hisgreater than 10% of income for elderly and
or her education,disabled families
-$480 for each member of the household who
is under 18, a full-time student, or over 18 andDeduction amounts are to be adjusted annually
disabled,by an inflation factor set by the Secretary and
-child support, up to $480 per child (subject torounded down to the nearest multiple of $25.
appropriations),(Sec. 3(b))
-spousal support (subject to appropriations),
-earned income of minors,
-earned income for certain Section 8 residents
(subject to appropriations),
-other permissible exclusions as determined by
the PHA. (42 USC 1437a(b))

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
me CalculationNot specified in statute, but in regulation, HUDPHAs would be permitted to use prior years Not specified.
has established a system for calculating incomeincome (if it had been determined by the PHA)
H and PBRA)that attempts to predict income in the comingto determine next year’s income. Earned
12 months and requires third-party verification.income would be calculated as the previous
year’s earned income, minus 10% (only when
calculating rent). If prior year’s fixed income
were used, the PHA would be required to apply
inflationary adjustments, as determined by the
Secretary. PHAs could make other
adjustments as appropriate to reflect current
income. PHAs can use income calculations
iki/CRS-RL33270used in other programs (such as TANF,Medicaid, Food Stamps). (Sec. 3(a))
s.orrgetingOf families initially provided assistance in anyOf families initially provided assistance in anyOf families selected for assistance during a
leakfiscal year, PHAs must target 75% of allfiscal year, PHAs would be required to targetone-year period, PHAs would be required to
vouchers to those at or below 30% of area75% of vouchers to those at or below thetarget 90% of all assistance to families at or
://wikimedian income (AMI). (42 USC 1437f(o)(4)higher of 30% of AMI or the poverty line.below 60% of AMI. (Sec. 107(c))
httpand 1437n(b))(Sec. 5)
Levels Benefits are statutorily set as rental subsidiesNo change.PHAs would be permitted to establish their
sequal to the difference between the lesser ofown methodology for setting reasonable and
rent or the payment standard (set by the PHAappropriate subsidy levels and would not be
at between 90%-110% of the fair market rentrequired to use FMR. However, they would be
(FMR)) and the tenant’s contribution (seerequired to set a maximum subsidy level. (Sec.
below). (42 USC 1437f(o)(1)(B)) Rents109) If the PHA provided downpayment
charged for assisted units must be reasonableassistance, the maximum grant would be
compared to comparable dwelling units in the$10,000. (Sec. 108(c)) Rents charged for
private market. (42 USC 1437f(o)(10)(A))assisted units would be required to be
reasonable compared to modest, non-luxury
unassisted units in the local market and
reasonableness would be required to be
assessed annually. (Sec. 109 )

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
nt ContributionTenant contributions are statutorily set as theSame as current law, except the 10% of grossPHAs could establish rents based on a
greater of 30% of a familys adjusted grossincome contribution would be eliminated. percentage of income, flat rents, tiered rents, or
H and PBRA)income, 10% of a familys gross income,(Sec. 3(c)) some combination of the three models, at their
welfare rent (the amount of a welfare benefit(Only for voucher program)discretion. There would be no cap on tenant
designated for housing costs) or the minimumcontributions. PHAs would be required to set
rent (set by the PHA, not to exceed $50, with aminimum rents. (Sec. 109 and 202(b))
hardship exemption). Families cannot be
required to contribute more than 30% of their
adjusted incomes, although they can choose to
contribute up to 40% in the first year and
higher thereafter. (42 USC 1437a(1) and
g/wination, TimeCurrent law does not include any time limits orSame as current law, although families whosePHAs would be able to set standards for
s.orits, and Workwork requirements. Families can continue togross incomes increased above 80% of AMIcontinued eligibility, including time limits and
leakentsreceive assistance (even if their incomeswould lose eligibility for assistance. (Sec. 4(b))work requirements. Beginning in January 2008,
increase above 80% of AMI) as long as theyPHAs would be permitted to establish time
://wikiremain compliant with program rules. Oncelimits of no less than five years (term limits
httptheir incomes increase to the point that theirwould not apply to elderly and disabled
tenant contribution is equal to the rent, theirfamilies). Families whose gross incomes
subsidy is zero.increased above 80% of AMI would lose
eligibility for assistance. (Sec. 107(d))
nced VouchersFamilies receive enhanced vouchers when theyNo change.Enhanced vouchers would be administered
are displaced from other rental assistanceunder current rules for one year. After one
programs (when project-based Section 8year, enhanced vouchers would be
contracts for private units end). Enhancedadministered under the local FVP rules. (Sec.
vouchers are administered by the local PHA.115)

The payment standard for an enhanced voucher
is equal to the rent for the unit (even if it is
greater than the PHAs payment standard),
allowing a family that would otherwise be
displaced to remain in that unit. The
enhanced” feature of the voucher remains for

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
as long as the family lives in the unit. (42 USC
ction of UnitsPHAs must inspect units to ensure that theyThe requirement that PHAs inspect the unitsPHAs would be required to inspect units within
meet federal housing quality standards prior toprior to initial occupancy would be waived if60 days of the first payment made to the owner
occupancy and at least annually thereafter. the unit was previously occupied by a familyand again at least once every four years
PHAs can choose to use local, state, or federalwith a voucher and the unit had passedthereafter to ensure that they meet federal
housing quality standards (HQS), as long asinspection within the prior year or if the unithousing quality standards or other standards
state or local standards are as strict or stricterhad otherwise passed inspection in the priorapproved by the Secretary. PHAs would be
than federal standards. (42 USC 1437f(o)(8))year under any federal, state, or local program,required to inspect at least one-quarter of units
and the PHA certifies that the standards usedeach year. (Sec. 112)
iki/CRS-RL33270meet or exceed HQS. If a unit fails inspectionfor non-life threatening reasons, the PHA can
g/wmake payments for up to 30 days while the unit
s.oris repaired. Thereafter, units are to be
leakinspected biennially and a PHA must inspect
up to 50% of units each year. (Sec. 2)
httprtabilityFamilies receiving voucher assistance, afterNo change.PHAs would be permitted to enter into
one year, can move to any jurisdiction in theagreements with other PHAs in the same state
country where a voucher program is beingor region to facilitate the ability of families
administered. (42 USC 1437f (o)(5))who have been receiving assistance for at least
one year to move to another jurisdiction within
the state or region. Families would only be
able to move across jurisdictions with
preexisting agreements. If the PHA wishes to
establish a region with more than one state, it
would be required to first notify HUD. (Sec.
ansition/Not applicable.Not applicable.Families receiving homeownership assistance
andfatheringor project-based voucher assistance on the day
before enactment would continue to receive
H and PBRA)assistance under current law for the length of

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
their contracts. (Sec. 104) Elderly and
disabled households receiving assistance on the
day before enactment would continue to be
treated under current law until January 2009.
Elderly and disabled households receiving
assistance after the date of enactment would
also be treated under current law until January
2009, unless their PHA had devised a plan for
meeting the needs of the elderly and disabled
prior to a January 2009 deadline for developing
such a plan. (Sec. 105)
iki/CRS-RL33270Funding for voucher renewals is permanentlyThe bill would replace the existing renewalThe Secretary would be required to establish a
g/wthorization andauthorized, subject to appropriations. Underformula and authorize such sums as necessaryformula, through negotiated rulemaking with
s.orcationcurrent law, subject to appropriations andto renew voucher contracts and provide tenantstakeholders, within 24 months for allocating
leakbeginning in FY1999, the Secretary is directedprotection and enhanced vouchers throughfunds to PHAs. In the interim, PHAs would
to renew all expiring voucher contracts byFY2011.receive a proportionate share of funding based
://wikiapplying an inflation factor to an allocationon their prior year’s funding level. (Sec. 110)

httpbaseline, adjusted for new authorized vouchersRenewal funding would be allocated based on
(including tenant-protection vouchers). Theleasing and cost data from the previous year,
baseline was set at a level sufficient to continueplus an annual adjustment factor with
assistance for the actual number of familiesadjustments for the first-time renewal of
assisted as of October 1, 1997. (42 USCtenant-protection and enhanced vouchers and
1437f(dd))with other adjustments as necessary. Moving
to Work (MTW) agencies would be funded
Beginning in FY2003, the appropriations lawpursuant to their agreements.
began to include instructions on how the
Secretary was to distribute funds. In FY2004,Leasing and cost data would be calculated no
PHAs were funded based on the number ofless than biennially by using the average for
vouchers they actually used as of their end ofthe most recent calendar year for which data
the year statement (with adjustments made forare substantially verifiable and complete
changes) and the cost of those vouchers (based(including vouchers set-aside for project-based
on their end of the year statement, not adjustedassistance).
for changes). In FY2005, PHAs were fundedIf funding were insufficient to fully fund all

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
based on their actual costs and number ofPHA budgets, then the Secretary would apply a
vouchers in use over a three-month period inpro-rata reduction to each agencys budget (not
FY2004, pro-rated to fit within the amountapplicable to funding for enhanced/tenant
appropriated. In FY2006, PHAs received aprotection funds). On May 1 of each year,
pro-rata share of the amount appropriated,HUD would be required to recapture any
based on what they received in FY2005.amount over 1/12 of the amount allocated to
the agency for the first year, leaving agencies
Prior to FY2005, agencies were provided a 12-with a one-month program reserve. Of those
month program reserve. In FY2005,recaptured funds, the Secretary would first set
appropriations law reduced agency reserves toaside amounts to reimburse agencies for
one week. In FY2006, agencies are guaranteedincreased portability and Family Self
iki/CRS-RL33270no minimum reserve.Sufficiency costs and reallocate the rest toagencies spending 99% of their funding but
g/wleased below their authorized level, although
s.orthe Secretary could prioritize PHAs that leased
leakless vouchers in the preceding year than in the
12-month period ending on April 1, 2004.
://wikiReallocated amounts could be used to increase
httpleasing rates up to the authorized level.
At the last three months of each calendar year,
the Secretary could advance up to 2% of an
agencys allocation to the agency to be used for
additional voucher costs (including temporary
over-leasing), at the agencys request. PHAs
would be required to repay HUD through a
reduction in their subsequent allocation. (Sec.
inistrative FeesPrior to FY2004, administrative fees were paidNo change.HUD would be required to develop a final
to PHAs on a per unit basis calculated roughlyformula for allocating administrative fees
as a percentage of FMR. In recent years, underwithin 24 months via negotiated rulemaking. In
appropriations law, PHAs have received thethe interim, PHAs would receive a pro-rata
same proportion of total funds that they hadshare of the amount available for

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
received in the previous year. In FY2006, theadministrative fees, based on what they
amount available for administrative fees wasreceived in the previous year, although the
equivalent to just under 9% of the amountSecretary would have the authority to retain up
provided for vouchers. (42 USC 1437f(q))to 5% to provide special fees for non-routine
expenses. (Sec. 117)
antee PerformancePHAs are evaluated annually through theThe Secretary would be required to establishThe Secretary would be required to establish
Section 8 Management Assessment Protocolperformance standards and a performanceperformance standards and a performance
(SEMAP), which is a set of 14 criteriaassessment system.assessment system. PHAs would be required to
established by HUD via regulation, whichmake annual reports to the Secretary and those
primarily focus on agency compliance withAgencies would be assessed on theirannual reports would be required to be made
iki/CRS-RL33270program rules and regulations rather thanprogram goals or outcomes. Its 14 indicatorsperformance regarding:-quality of the dwelling units obtained usingpublicly available on the Internet.
g/winclude:assistance;If a PHA received a failing score, the Secretary
s.or-Proper selection of applicants from the-extent of utilization of assistance amountwould determine how best to administer the
leakhousing choice voucher waiting list,provided to the agency;grant, including:
-Sound determination of reasonable rent for-financial condition of the agency;-turning over administration of the grant to
://wikieach unit leased, -timeliness and accuracy of reporting by theanother PHA or other entity;
http-Establishment of payment standards within theagency to the Secretary;-appointing a receiver; or
required range of the HUD fair market rent, -other areas the Secretary deems appropriate.-setting a deadline for the PHA to improve.
-Accurate verification of family income, (Sec. 106)

-Timely annual reexaminations of familyUsing these standards and procedures, the
income, Secretary would be required to conduct an
-Correct calculation of the tenant share of theassessment of the performance of each agency
rent and the housing assistance payment, and submit a report to Congress regarding the
-Maintenance of a current schedule ofresult of each assessment. (Sec. 10)
allowances for tenant utility costs,
-Ensure units comply with the housing quality
standards before families enter into leases and
PHAs enter into housing assistance contracts,
-Timely annual housing quality inspections,
-Performance of quality control inspections to
ensure housing quality,
-Ensure that landlords and tenants promptly

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
correct housing quality deficiencies,
-Ensure that all available housing choice
vouchers are used,
-Expand housing choice outside areas of
poverty or minority concentration,
-Enroll families in the family self-sufficiency
(FSS) program as required and help FSS
families achieve increases in employment
inco me .
If PHAs fail SEMAP, they can be deemed
iki/CRS-RL33270troubled.” Troubled agencies must agree toan onsite assessment and a plan designed to
g/wbring them into compliance. If the PHA is
s.orunwilling or unable to abide by its plan to
leakmove to compliance, the Secretary can:
-contract with another PHA or private manager
://wikito administer the program;
http-appoint a receiver;
-take over the administration of the program;
-other actions the Secretary deems appropriate.
PHAs are prohibited from concentrating veryNo change.Eliminates current provision.

on low-income families in public housing units in
entcertain public housing projects or certain
buildings within projects. The Secretary must
ublic Housing only)review PHA compliance and PHAs must
submit an admissions policy designed to
provide for deconcentration of poverty and
income mixing.

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
oving to Work
esThe purpose of the program is to provide PHAsThe purposes of the program would be to:Same as H.R. 5443. (Sec. 302)
and the Secretary the flexibility to design and-give incentives to families to become self-
test various approaches for providing andsufficient;
administering housing assistance that:-give PHAs and the Secretary the flexibility to
-reduce cost and achieve greater costdevelop approaches for providing and
effectiveness in federal expenditures;administering housing assistance that achieves
-give incentives to families with childrengreater cost-effectiveness of federal
where the head of the household is working,expenditures;
seeking work, or preparing for work; and-increase housing opportunities for low-income
iki/CRS-RL33270-increase housing choices for low-incomefamilies. (42 USC 1437 Note)families;-reduce administrative burdens on PHAs; and
g/w-allow federal resources to be more effectively
s.orutilized at the local level. (Sec. 6)
rityAuthorizes the Secretary to conduct an MTWWould direct the Secretary to establish aWould direct the Secretary to establish a
://wikidemonstration. The Secretary is permitted toMoving to Work program in which PHAsMoving to Work program in which PHAs
httpselect up to 30 agencies for participation. (42meeting the eligibility criteria can participate. meeting the eligibility criteria can participate.
USC 1437 Note)Would limit participation to no more than 40No limit would be set on the number of
agencies. (Sec. 6)agencies that can participate. (Sec. 302)
of AssistanceParticipating PHAs may combine PublicNo change. (Sec. 6)No change. (Sec. 302)

Housing operating funds, Public Housing
capital funds, and Section 8 voucher funds to
provide housing assistance for low-income
families and services to facilitate the transition
to work on such terms and conditions as set by
the PHA and approved by the Secretary. (42
USC 1437f Note)

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
PHAs must continue to assist substantially thePHAs would be required to continue to assistThere would be no requirement that PHAs
same total number of eligible low-incomesubstantially the same total number of eligiblecontinue to serve the same number of families.
families and maintain a comparable mix oflow-income families as if funds had not been(Sec. 302)
families (by family size) as would have beencombined under the program. (Sec. 6)
served if the assistance had not been combined
under the demonstration. (42 USC 1437f Note)
iver AuthorityThe Secretary may waive provisions of theThe Secretary would be permitted to waive anySame as H.R. 5443. (Sec. 302)
U.S. Housing Act of 1937, although Section 18portion of the act with respect to assistance
(demolition and disposition requirements) andunder MTW, except Section 18. The Secretary
Section 12 (Davis Bacon and communitywould also be permitted to provide streamlined
iki/CRS-RL33270service requirements) cannot be waived. (42USC 1437 Note)procedures (including procurement procedures)and provide for immediate implementation of
g/wsuch procedures. (Sec. 6)
leaktion, SelectionIn selecting applicants, the Secretary must takeAgencies may submit applications to theAgencies may submit applications to the
iteria, andinto account:Secretary, in such a form prescribed by theSecretary, in such a form prescribed by the
://wikiibility-the potential of the agency to plan and carrySecretary, if they are eligible. Secretary, if they are eligible.
httpout a program under the demonstration;
-the relative performance of the agency on theIn order to be eligible, agencies would have to:In order to be eligible, agencies would be
Public Housing Assessment System; and-be high performing agencies under applicablerequired to:
-other appropriate factors set by the Secretary.rating systems; and-participate in the MTW demonstration at the
-manage at least 500 units of public housing ortime of application;
Agencies applications must:manage at least 500 vouchers.-be designated a high performing agency with
-request the authority to combine publicrespect to the public housing and voucher
housing and Section 8 voucher funds;In selecting agencies, the Secretary mustprograms;
-be submitted after public hearings and citizenconsider the extent to which PHAs meet-manage at least 500 units of public housing;
participation; andcriteria set by the Secretary, including:-administer at least 500 vouchers; or
-include a plan, developed by the agency with-demonstrated capacity to develop and manage-meet other criteria as set by the Secretary,
public and resident comments, that includesa successful program;including:
criteria for:-demonstrated compliance with statutes and — demonstrated capacity to develop and
— families to be assisted, 75% of whom mustregulation applicable to HUD programs inmanage a successful program;
be very low-income;which the agency participates or has — demonstrated compliance with statutes and
— reasonable rent policies designed toparticipated;regulation applicable to HUD programs in

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
encourage employment and self sufficiency;-commitment of nonfederal resourceswhich the agency participates or has
— continuing to assist substantially the same(including in the local community); andparticipated;
number of people;-demonstrated commitment by local — commitment of nonfederal resources
— maintaining a comparable mix of familiesgovernment to removing regulatory barriers to(including in the local community); and
(by family size); andaffordable housing. (Sec. 6) — demonstrated commitment by local
— assuring housing meets quality standards.government to removing regulatory barriers to
affordable housing. (Sec. 302)
PHA applications may also request technical
assistance from HUD to assist with design of
the demonstration and participation in a
detailed evaluation. From FY1996-FY1998,
iki/CRS-RL33270the Secretary was authorized to use up to $5million for technical assistance to PHAs and to
g/wconduct detailed evaluations. (42 USC 1437
s.orNo te)
ofNo term specified in law; in practice, generallyPHAs would be permitted to participate for aNo term specified.
://wikirticipation5- to 7-year contracts, with extensions. (42three year term. Upon expiration, the agency
httpUSC 1437f Note)could reapply for an additional three year
period, as long as the agency had not failed to
comply with performance standards. (Sec. 6)
-75% of families assisted must be very lowAs a condition of participation, PHAs would beSame as H.R. 5443. (Sec. 302)

entsincome;required to:
-PHAs must establish reasonable rent policies-consult with their communities;
designed to encourage employment and self-target no less than 90% of assistance to
sufficiency;families with gross income at or below 60% of
-PHAs must continue to assist substantially themedian income;
same number of people; -establish reasonable rent policies designed to
-PHAs must maintain a comparable mix ofencourage employment and self sufficiency;
families (by family size); and-provide assurance that housing meets HQS;
-PHAs must assure housing meets qualityand
standards. (42 USC 1437f Note).-provide other information as required by the
Secretary. (Sec. 6)

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
uation,The Secretary is to provide training andUntil January 1, 2008, the Secretary would beSame as H.R. 5443, except H.R. 1999 does not
ssment, andtechnical assistance during the demonstrationpermitted to use current public housing andinclude language permitting the Secretary to
anceand conduct detailed evaluations of up to 15voucher assessment systems. Otherwise,include a baseline performance level among the
andardsagencies to identify replicable program modelsagencies would be evaluated under a systemperformance standards set for MTW agencies.
promoting the purpose of the demonstration.designed by the Secretary.(Sec. 302)
In making assessments, the Secretary mustThe Secretary would be required to issue a
consult with representatives of PHAs andproposed and final rule to implement
residents. (42 USC 1437f Note)performance standards for MTW agencies (the
final rule must be issued within 24 months of
enactment). They may include:
iki/CRS-RL33270-A baseline performance level; and-Standards for
g/w — moving assisted low-income families to
s.oreconomic self sufficiency,
leak reducing per family costs of providing
housing assistance,
://wiki expanding housing choice for low-income
http fa milies,
improving program management, and
increasing the number of homeownership
opportunities for low-income families; and
-other performance goals set by the Secretary.
(Sec. 6)
Agencies must keep records as required by theAgencies would be required to keep records asAgencies would be required to keep records as
rtsSecretary. Agencies must supply reports andrequired by the Secretary, submit reports inrequired by the Secretary and submit reports in
in a form and time set by the Secretary which:such a time and form as required by thesuch a time and form as required by the
-document use of funds,Secretary and submit annually suchSecretary. The Secretary and GAO must have
-provide data requested by the Secretary forinformation to the Secretary as needed tofull access to all pertinent documents. (Sec.
assessing the demonstration, andevaluate the program. The Secretary and GAO302)

-describe and analyze the effect of activities inmust have full access to all pertinent
meeting objectives.documents.
The Secretary and the Government

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
Accountability Office (GAO) must have fullThe Secretary would be required to submit
access to all pertinent documents.annual evaluations of PHAs to Congress,
The Secretary has no later than 180 days afterincluding finding and recommendations for
the third year of the demonstration to submit toappropriate legislative action. GAO would
Congress a report evaluating programs carriedalso be required to submit a report to Congress
out under the demonstration, includingwithin 12 months on the extent to which
findings and recommendations for applicableparticipating agencies are meeting the goals
legislative changes. (42 USC 1437f Note) and purposes of the program. (Sec. 6)
(Report submitted in 2004)
iki/CRS-RL33270The amount of assistance received by theagency is not diminished by their participationThe amount of assistance received by aparticipating agency, subject to appropriationsSame as H.R. 5443. (Sec. 302)
g/win the demonstration. MTW agencies are(and any applicable proration), would not be
s.orfunded based on their agreements with HUD,affected by participation in the program. (Sec.
leakalthough they are subject to any funding7)
prorations. (42 USC 1437f Note)
httpansition Not applicable.Subject to procedures and requirements set bySubject to procedures and requirements set by
the Secretary, PHAs under an existing MTWthe Secretary, PHAs participating in the MTW
contract on the date of enactment could applydemonstration could opt out and join the MTW
for participation in the MTW program:program. PHAs that would terminate their
-at any time before the expiration of theirMTW demonstration participation in 2005 or
existing MTW contracts as long as they agree2006 could renew their MTW demonstration
to opt out of existing MTW contracts; oragreements for another three year period and,
-upon expiration of existing the end of that three year period, apply for
Upon application, agencies would be treated asthe MTW program. (Sec. 302)

if they are reapplying under the new program.
The Secretary would be prohibited from
extending existing MTW contracts after
enactment. (Sec. 6)

Housing Choice Voucher Program CurrentSection 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2006thThe State and Local Housing Flexibility Act
Law(H.R. 5443, 109 Congress)of 2005th
(United States Housing Act of 1937)(H.R. 1999/S. 771, 109 Congress)
er Provisions
anufacturedNot applicable.Would establish a pilot program to determineNo provision.
using Pilotwhether restructured rent calculations for
manufactured housing assistance will increase
the affordability of manufactured housing.
(Sec. 9)
rting toNot applicable.Would authorize PHAs to report informationNo provision.
on families’ rent payment histories to credit
reporting agencies. (Sec. 11)
iki/CRS-RL33270ent of BasicNot applicable.Would require that federal housing programsNo provision.
g/wance for Housing(excluding rental assistance programs) treat
s.orentsbasic allowance for housing funds in the same
leakway that Section 8 vouchers are treated for
purposes of eligibility. (Sec. 12)
http Congressional Research Service analysis of current law (42 USC 1437 et. seq.); H.R. 1999/S. 771 (109th Cong.); and H.R. 5443 (109th Cong.).