Fixing the Housing Voucher Shortage

House­holds eli­gi­ble for hous­ing assis­tance vouch­ers are often unable to get on wait­ing lists whose num­bers stretch into the tens of thou­sands, writes Mol­ly Bolan in Route Fifty, mak­ing the pro­gram inef­fec­tive for a large por­tion of the peo­ple who for it.

With fam­i­lies lan­guish­ing for years in unsta­ble short- hous­ing, what can states and cities do to assist strug­gling ? One solu­tion, accord­ing to some experts: tax cred­its. “Tax cred­its give gov­ern­ments flex­i­bil­i­ty to tar­get spe­cif­ic pop­u­la­tions, such as the elder­ly or peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” Bolan . “Plus, own­ers won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly know which ten­ants are receiv­ing tax cred­its to help with hous­ing costs,” mit­i­gat­ing the poten­tial for dis­crim­i­na­tion against low-income house­holds.

Oth­er to improve the effec­tive­ness of the pro­gram include pass­ing laws against source-of-income dis­crim­i­na­tion and imple­ment­ing cash assis­tance that could reduce admin­is­tra­tive and get peo­ple into sta­ble afford­able hous­ing faster.

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