On July 2, 2019, Philanthropy California submitted a public comment opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule to prohibit “mixed-status” families, or families who consist of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who may have a member that is ineligible for housing assistance due to their immigration status, from accessing public or subsidized housing.
July 2, 2019
Subject: Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status (HUD Docket No. FR-6124-P-01)
Dear Mr. Gibbs:
On behalf of Philanthropy California, we write to express our strong opposition to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“proposed rule”) on Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status, published in the Federal Register on May 10, 2019. The proposed rule, contrary to our country’s deeply held values of opportunity and equality, will exacerbate the national housing and homelessness crisis and lead to worse housing conditions for families across the country. We urge the rule to be withdrawn in its entirety, and that HUD’s long-standing regulations remain in effect.
The proposed rule would prohibit “mixed-status” families from public and subsidized housing. These families consist of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who may have a member that is ineligible for housing assistance due to their immigration status. While these families are currently pro-rated to only provide assistance for those members who are eligible, these proposed changes would instead require the family to remove the ineligible member (which is most likely a parent or income provider) or be evicted from their home. Because of this, over 100,000 people are at risk of being evicted with 55,000 of them being children.
Philanthropy California is an alliance of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego Grantmakers with a collective membership of more than 600 foundations, corporate giving programs, and philanthropists. In 2017, foundations gave approximately $10 billion to over 14,000 nonprofits in the state in support of a variety of issues and initiatives. As the voice of California’s philanthropic community, we collaborate statewide to provide a forum for exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, and leveraging our efforts for greater impact in service of communities across the state. We oppose the proposed rulemaking for the reasons below.
The proposed rule will exacerbate our national affordable housing and homelessness crises.
Funders in California have made tremendous investments in affordable housing and decreasing homelessness. In 2017, philanthropy provided $64 million in grants to community-based organizations that provide temporary shelter, supportive services, or housing. Despite our efforts, the crisis continues to worsen, linked to the high cost of housing and growing economic insecurity among our most vulnerable persons in California. Across our state, our latest point-in-time counts show over 20 percent increases in San Bernardino, Ventura, and Kern Counties and over 40 percent increases in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Orange Counties in people experiencing homelessness.
Yet, the proposed rule would lead to the eviction or displacement of tens of thousands of immigrant families. According to HUD, 25,000 mixed-status families will need to decide whether to separate or forgo housing assistance. Thirty-seven percent of these families live in California. Due to our scarcity of housing resources, many of these families will not be able to find affordable housing to move into, and will end up homeless. In the face of our unprecedented housing shortage, it is unconscionable that the federal government will be forcing families out of their homes and onto the streets.
The proposed rule is costly and will decrease the quality of housing assistance.
HUD estimates that there will be $200 million in added costs for HUD to replace mixed-status families with all-eligible families, an amount which does not even include enforcement. In order to pay for that shortfall, HUD says the agency could pay for this by “reducing the quantity and quality of assistant housing in response to higher costs” for everyone. In the midst of a housing crisis, we need more housing not less, and we need better quality of housing to ensure that families are not living in unsafe, substandard conditions.
This rule will also adversely impact the existing HUD homeless assistance programs. The rule will require onerous documentation requirements that will significantly increase costs to public housing authorities. Plus, these additional administrative burdens to the housing assistance programs are likely to reduce the number of landlords who want to participate in Section 8 and other programs.
We believe evicting families and children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents from homes and putting them at risk of experiencing homelessness is indecent and contrary to our country’s fundamental values.
This proposal is against Philanthropy California’s values of racial equity and our country’s longstanding values of opportunity and equality. This change in the rule would mainly affect people of color, who are already at a higher risk of experiencing homelessness and currently make up a disproportional percentage of the homeless population. In order to end homelessness, we must stop harmful legislation on these communities and instead focus on solutions that center and prioritize them.
Philanthropy California stands behind supporting and protecting our immigrant communities. We call on the Administration to withdraw the proposed changes and to work with philanthropy through public- private partnerships to ensure we are creating equitable systems that will end homelessness and ensure safe and secure housing for all.
For the above reasons, we strongly urge HUD to withdraw the proposed “mixed-status” rule. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Amy Denhart, Director, Funders Together to End Homelessness-San Diego at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your consideration.
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers
President and CEO
San Diego Grantmakers
President and CEO
Northern California Grantmakers