The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed some big changes to the way its public housing and Section 8 tenants are being scrutinized, and wants the tenants in both programs to be able to prove their citizenship or provide Social Security cards at any given notice no matter what their age, or face termination or funding cuts from the programs.
Currently, housing authorities are restricted and can only demand that its tenants (U.S. citizens) in public housing and the Section 8 program verify their Social Security numbers and citizenship one time only, whlie residing at the same residence, or before moving in. HUD wants to end the "one-time policy," and demand papers at any given notice.
Now HUD wants to end the "one-time policy," which would catch tenants off guard, and end the 60 day provision that allows tenants time to have the Social Security Administration send them a social security card.
The following is from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition's
latest "Memo to Members," which describes some new proposals that are designed to catch existing renters in public housing & Section 8 off guard, and force them out of the nation's housing assistance programs:
HUD Proposes Changes to Housing Beneficiaries’ Social Security and Citizenship Documentation
On June 19, HUD proposed several changes
relating to the processes for people applying for or continuing to participate in the public housing, voucher, private multi-family housing and HOME programs.
Currently, HUD requires applicants and participants in these HUD programs to provide Employer Identification Numbers, citizenship or eligible immigration status, and Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for all those over 6 years of age. HUD proposes eliminating the SSN age threshold and requiring a SSN as well as an actual Social Security card or other form of documentation for all ages, including those under 6.
HUD also proposes to eliminate the current 60-day period for people to obtain a Social Security card or other documentation when they have a SSN but can’t prove it. In addition, HUD proposes to pro-rate assistance to a household, reducing assistance in proportion to the number of household members unable to provide a SSN and documentation.
Existing regulations require citizens to simply sign a declaration that they are citizens. HUD proposes that all applicants provide documentation such as passport, birth certificate, Social Security card, Alien Registration card, Employment Authorization card or Temporary Resident card.
HUD proposes to eliminate the “temporary deferral of termination of assistance” for families that have members who are not citizens. However, families that were covered on June 19, 1995 and have a member formally recognized by the government as a refugee or asylum seeker may continue to be eligible.
HUD proposes to change the definition of annual income from anticipated future income to actual income received during the 12-month period prior to admission to housing or prior to the effective date of an annual income re-examination.
HUD proposes that public housing agencies (PHAs) be required to use the new upfront income verification (UIV) process. HUD explains that UIV is the use of independent sources to verify a family’s income before application for housing assistance and during annual re-examination. Currently PHAs have to contact individual employers and review handwritten documents.
UIV will use HUD’s existing Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system or computer matching agreements with a federal, state or local government agency or with private entities. The obligations of private multifamily owners is cloudy due to the limited availability of EIV to them and due to the difficulty they might have in securing computer matching arrangements with other government entities.
Public Comment is due August 20.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lynda Carson is a tenant activist who lives in Oakland.