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“Section 8” Rental Assistance Program

WHEREAS, the Section 8 Federal Rental Assistance Program was started in 1976 to help low-income residents obtain affordable housing with the family paying 30% of its gross income and the government Housing and Urban Development [H.U.D] paying the rest, up to a certain regional limit; and

WHEREAS, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez recently told a Senate subcommittee: "Section 8 is sort of broke and in need of repair"; and

WHEREAS, the "repair" being suggested by the Administration is to give control of this federal voucher program (that helps nearly two million families pay the rent) to the various states to administer on the assumption that the states (most of which are strapped for funds and have been laying off personnel) could more efficiently manage the vast Section 8 rental program now administered by some 2,600 local housing authorities; and

WHEREAS, there is serious concern that the proposed shift would establish a variety of different standards governing who could qualify for the housing rental subsidies; and

WHEREAS, in 2002 about 8% of the vouchers went "unused" [not clearly defined; "unused" being not asked for, or "unused" meaning families could not locate an acceptable housing unit]; yet, in many areas there is a waiting list of applicants [in some areas, the waiting list is so long, new applications are not even being accepted].

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP, at the National Convention in Miami, July 2003, recommends Section 8 of the rental assistance program to contain the following:

  • Be adequately funded by the federal government such so that sufficient vouchers can be made available to all who qualify; and
  • Have uniform qualification standards from state-to-state, in accordance with all legal non-discriminatory standards set by federal and state laws; and
  • Administer accurate reporting as to why Section 8 vouchers are unused (or relinquished) as reported, with an estimate of unfulfilled affordable housing needs be included.
  • And that control of this important Federal voucher program not be transferred to the States, but remain as is, administered by the local housing authorities.