Background on Section 8 opt-outs & terminations
While the United States is the best-housed nation in the world, millions of hard-working American families struggle to find homes and apartments within their budgets. They are often forced to commute long distances, pay much more than 30% of their income for rent (30% is considered affordable), settle with sub-standard housing, or live in over-crowded conditions because of inflated housing costs.
One of the most effective programs to keep housing affordable for seniors, families, and people with disabilities is called “Project-based Section 8.” This subsidy is secured by a contract between the private owner (landlord) of a building and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Unfortunately, many of these contracts between private owners and HUD may be coming to an end in the near future. At that point the owner can terminate or opt-out of the Section 8 program, despite decades of federally-funded investment for the landlord. This means that the owner will no longer participate in the Section 8 program that keeps rent affordable, and the community will lose an essential housing resource.
Since 1996, the nation has lost more than 400,000 units of low-income HUD-assisted multifamily housing to market rate conversions. Of the remaining 1.7 million families who live in HUD multifamily housing today, as many as 500,000 more are at immediate risk of conversion.
HOME Line has organized with residents in Section 8 housing for more than a decade. Residents have organized to keep their housing affordable while also improving their living conditions. This process can seem complicated, but HOME Line is here to help. We have assisted many tenants in buildings across the state in situations like this and we can help you too. From writing a joint letter to HUD, to forming a tenants association, to reaching out to the community — there are many ways that tenants can save their homes. HOME Line is designated by HUD as an independent Tenant Resource Network (TRN) organization with the responsibility of informing and involving tenants in an effort to ensure that they can work to keep their homes affordable.
Tenants who are affected by the loss of Project-based Section 8 have a federally-protected right to organize with their neighbors. Because residents and neighbors in these apartments are the people most directly affected by the removal of Section 8, they are in the best situation to protect it. Often, the first thing that residents learn is that their are plenty of people in their community who are in support of their efforts. Because it is so difficult to build new affordable housing, many local and state officials would rather keep the housing that we already have.
If you have received a notice from your landlord regarding a Section 8 prepayment or opt-out, please call us. If you are concerned this might occur at your apartment, or have questions about this process, please call: Eric at 612-728-5770, extension 119.