June 28, 2019
A proposed rule change from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could force low-income immigrant families to choose between splitting up their families or face potential eviction.
If it were to go into effect, the proposed change would render an entire household ineligible for rental assistance or public housing if it at least one member of the household is classified as ineligible due to immigration status. The proposal is the Trump Administration’s latest attempt to deny services and to intimidate immigrant families.
To be clear, most non-citizens do not receive federal housing assistance.
As it is now, access to housing assistance, both in the forms of vouchers and in public housing facilities, is mostly limited to U.S. citizens and some subgroups of non-citizens — like those with lawful permanent resident status (LPR) or those granted asylum and refugee status.
Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
Those affected by this proposal:
are children, the elderly, or people with disabilities
of mixed status households at risk are Hispanic/Latinx
of elderly individuals subject to new documentation requirements are Black
Many immigrants like those who are granted Temporary Protected Status, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), student visa holders, or the undocumented are ineligible for housing assistance. If a household has both eligible and ineligible members, any assistance to that household is prorated: meaning that assistance is calculated to only account for eligible recipients. For example, a household of 4 with one ineligible member gets 75% of the assistance it would if everyone were eligible.
The proposed rule from HUD would eliminate the proration policy by rendering all households ineligible if at least one person isn’t classified as an eligible recipient because of their immigration status. Further, the proposal imposes new documentation requirements on all eligible citizens and non-citizens aged 62 and over.
What this means for New Yorkers
In New York State, more than 3,000 households are at risk of losing housing assistance. These are homes which are considered “mixed status,” with citizens and non-citizens living together who are almost always members of the same family. This presents a cruel bargain for immigrant families: either split up your family or lose access to housing assistance and likely face eviction.
Among those who will remain eligible, in New York State there are over 24,000 individuals aged 62 and over who will be burdened to comply with new documentation requests to prove they are citizens or have an eligible immigration status.
An analysis from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that most of those affected by this proposal — 70 percent — are children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Mixed status households at risk are overwhelmingly Hispanic/Latinx (85 percent) and elderly individuals subject to new documentation requirements are disproportionately Black (48 percent).
Part of a broader phenomenon
The administration’s repeated disinvestments in affordable housing demonstrate that this proposed rule change is not intended to provide better housing. HUD’s own analysis of the rule change showed it would result in higher costs for the agency and lower quantity and quality of public housing.
Instead, the proposed rule change is the latest act of several policy efforts that limit the rights of immigrants and threaten the well-being and development of children. This has led to an observed ‘chilling effect’ in which immigrant families have avoided interacting with public programs altogether. In New York City, enrollment in SNAP (Food Stamps) has dropped precipitously in the last year among eligible non-citizen families, illustrating the repercussions when the Trump administration offers scare tactics instead of a safety net.
ACT NOW to protect New York’s immigrant families and preserve access to housing assistance for ALL New Yorkers.
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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Analysis of 2017 HUD administrative data, 2019.
New York City Department of Social Services & Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Fact Sheet: SNAP Enrollment Trends in New York City, June 2019.
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Regulatory Impact Analysis: Amendments to Further Implement Provisions of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, April 2019.
National Low-Income Housing Coalition. Talking Points on HUD’s Proposed Mixed-Status Family Rule, June 2019.