HUD Wages War on Neighborhoods
Week of:
February 2, 1997

F.R. Duplantier

by:

F.R. Duplantier

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development is bombarded with complaints whenever private citizens discover the outrageous facts about Section 8 subsidies.

"The federal government is involved in economic blockbusting in thousands of the nation's neighborhoods," charges author James Bovard in an article originally published by the Future of Freedom Foundation and reprinted in the current issue of Wake-Up Call America. "Thanks to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)," he observes, "welfare recipients are using government handouts to move into middle-class and upper middle-class neighborhoods."

Bovard recalls that "Congress established the Section 8 program in 1974 to provide direct rent subsidies to selected low-income families. Section 8 currently gives more than $7 billion a year in rental subsidies to over two million families," he continues. "The program is a symbol of government welfare run amok -- of social workers using the power of subsidies to forcibly change the nature of hundreds of suburban neighborhoods."

While the average working American pays 100 percent of his rent, and chooses his neighborhood and accommodations accordingly, the Section 8 recipient faces no such strictures. "HUD requires Section 8 recipients to pay between 10 and 30 percent of their income for rent, and the government picks up the difference between the renter's share and the market rent," Bovard explains. HUD -- surprise! surprise! -- "makes little or no effort to verify recipients' income or to ensure that they actually pay their small share of the rent. Since many recipients claim to have zero income, their rent is totally on the taxpayers' back."

There's nothing wrong with wanting to live in a nicer house, but mooching off of the American taxpayer is something else. "Section 8 seeks to end the stigma of being on welfare by treating welfare recipients like a privileged class," says Bovard. "Unfortunately, few Americans can afford the levels of rent that HUD shovels out." With monthly HUD housing stipends of $1700 and up, he continues, "many Section 8 recipients enjoy far more comfortable housing than do working Americans."

Bovard reports that "HUD forces landlords to treat Section 8 renters better than renters who pay their own bills. It decreed that landlords can require only a $50 security deposit from Section 8 renters -- instead of the usual full month's rent deposit required for unsubsidized renters. Supposedly, apartment owners can get reimbursement from local HUD bureaucrats for damage done by Section 8 renters, but the bureaucrats routinely make it extremely difficult and time consuming to collect."

James Bovard warns that Section 8 housing can destroy a neighborhood because of "the paralyzing red tape that HUD imposes on private landlords who want to evict recipients who are troublemakers, hooligans, or deadbeats." Bovard says it's time to deep-six Section 8. "Federal rental subsidies should be abolished," he declares. "Giving subsidies to allow selected welfare recipients to live the high life is an insult and an injustice to all working Americans."

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