Congressman Cohen Rejects Carson’s Rent Hike Plan

July 5, 2018
Press Release
25 percent increase in subsidized housing rents would be intolerable

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) condemned as heartless bad policy U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed 25 percent rent increase for low-income residents touted at the American Conservative Union’s Foundation for Conservative Political Action Conference in Memphis earlier this week, and made the following statement:

“Ben Carson’s call for low-income Americans to have ‘more skin in the game’ by paying higher rents, despite their eligibility for subsidized housing under the 50-year old Fair Housing Act, shows just how out of touch the Trump Administration is about the needs of hardworking citizens trying to make ends meet. Low-income families can’t just swallow a 25 percent rent hike.

“A recent article in The Commercial Appeal appeared to suggest Carson’s plan is moving forward but did not include that such a change in subsidized rent policy as dictated by the Fair Housing Act could not be implemented without legislation approved by Congress.

“Having already rebuked Secretary Carson once by reversing the Administration’s proposed budget cuts to various HUD programs, it is unlikely that Financial Service Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling will move legislation to accomplish the Secretary’s harmful proposals to hike subsidized rent rates.”

Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of H. Res. 886, affirming the importance of preserving the Brooke Rule as a housing affordability standard. The rule, named after its sponsor, the late Senator Edward Brooke, a Massachusetts Republican, ensures that families receiving federal housing assistance do not pay more than 30 percent of their adjusted income on rent. The May 2018 resolution was made in response to Carson’s proposal.