TANF AND HOUSING POLICY

WHEREAS, many American families leaving welfare for work opportunities face enormous problems in finding affordable housing; and

WHEREAS, the National Survey of American Families found that the total average monthly income of households that previously received welfare benefits is only $1,261 a month; and

WHEREAS, a family with this income would have to pay 58 percent of its total income to rent a two bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent in jurisdictions with rental costs at the national median; and

WHEREAS, only about 30 percent of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) income also receive housing assistance; and

WHEREAS, former welfare recipients appear more likely to succeed in the workplace with stable and affordable housing; and

WHEREAS, Congress is considering reauthorization of TANF, as well as reevaluating federal housing programs,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors supports a complementary and coordinated housing and TANF agenda that:

  • Makes it simpler for states to use TANF funds to provide supplemental housing benefits;
  • Funds new welfare to work vouchers;
  • Funds a new joint HUD/HHS demonstration project for families with multiple barriers to work that combines housing assistance with services;
  • Encourages welfare agencies and housing agencies to cooperate and requires states to consider housing needs in TANF planning and implementation;
  • Expands the availability of housing vouchers where needed and expands production of workforce housing where needed. Public housing authorities should also be allowed to attach a certain percentage of vouchers to newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated units; and
  • Expands the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.