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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2009
11:50 AM

CONTACT: NLIHC

Taylor Materio, Communications Associate
taylor@nlihc.org

Ph. 202-662-1530 x. 227

NLIHC to Testify Before Congress on Section 8 Voucher Reform Draft Bill

WASHINGTON - June 3 - National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Deputy Director Linda Couch will testify Thursday, June 4, before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity on the proposed Section 8 Vouchers Reform Act (SEVRA).

Advocates see enactment of the bill, still in draft form, as critical to stabilizing and updating the voucher program. NLIHC strongly supports many of the bill’s provisions, including one that would improve the formula HUD uses to distribute voucher renewal funding to the public housing authorities that administer the program, and one that would simplify the rent-setting process and ensure that families are encouraged to earn additional income. The bill would also improve the home inspections process, voucher portability, the screening of voucher applicants, and fair market rents.

The bill also would authorize 150,000 additional vouchers for the coming year, to begin to address the years-long waiting lists for vouchers found in most parts of the country. NLIHC, along with other national housing groups, has called for the authorization of 2 million additional vouchers over the next 10 years.

NLIHC commends the efforts of the Subcommittee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), lead sponsor of the draft bill, and the other members of the subcommittee, for their efforts to strengthen the program. “The draft bill Section 8 bill under discussion today is testament to the Subcommittee’s commitment to the nation’s housing programs,” Ms. Couch will testify.   

This new draft bill is very similar to the version of SEVRA that passed the House in July 2007, H.R. 1851, during the last session of Congress. The Senate version of the legislation, S. 2684, did not make its way out of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and the bill stalled.

In 2005, NLIHC hosted a summit of advocates, residents, public housing authorities, policymakers and others with a stake in the voucher program to develop a description of needed reforms, many of which are included in the draft bill.

Hearing Information

WHAT: House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity hearing, “The Section 8 Voucher Reform Act”

WHEN: Thursday, June 4 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Room 2128, Rayburn House Office Building

WHO: Linda Couch, Deputy Director, National Low Income Housing Coalition

Additional witnesses have not yet been announced, but will be posted http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/hrhc060409.shtml

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The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.


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