CLASP Outlines Harsh Administrative Burdens in Rental Assistance Programs

A safe place to call home is one of the most fundamental human needs. Anybody navigating poverty or housing insecurity deserves to find refuge in a responsive and accessible set of public supports. Yet the methods that administrators use to collect information about a person’s circumstance can create burdens for people trying to access housing assistance. In this comment, we identify administrative burdens faced by people trying to access rental assistance programs and offer strategies to mitigate them. Nationwide, over 3000 housing authorities serve roughly 2 million public housing residents and 5 million housing choice voucher program participants. Partly because of racist narratives that depict Black and immigrant people as undeserving of government assistance, these programs are severely underfunded. Many of the administrative burdens mentioned in this comment are a direct result of this funding deficit. Although legislative action such as a large-scale reinvestment in public housing and protections for voucher holders is needed to truly eliminate administrative burdens in rental assistance programs, HUD should nonetheless take any actions within its power to make accessing public housing or a housing choice vouchers a more straightforward and less burdensome process. HUD must also discourage housing authorities (HAs) from monitoring the lives of recipients through excessive interview or documentation requirements, protecting their privacy and psychological safety.