Proposed Rule Could Leave More Than 55,000 Children Homeless
Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 23 states, today submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) opposing a new rule proposal that would deny housing assistance to mixed-status families that include any undocumented immigrants. The new proposal would result in the eviction of thousands of families, including many children and lawful residents and citizens, who rely on housing assistance for their homes. If enacted, the Proposed Rule would harm the States, their residents, their local economies, and public health. The coalition was co-led by New York and the District of Columbia.
“If this rule is enacted, the Trump Administration will once again be tearing families apart, and this time, it won’t be at the border, but in our communities,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Threatening to evict tens of thousands of children from their homes and put them on the streets is despicable and reverses decades of standard, well-reasoned federal policy. We will not sit idly by as this administration continues to launch these discriminatory attacks against immigrants and penalize those states that welcome them.”
For more than 30 years, laws governing public housing and HUD rules have prioritized family unity and the preservation of the family unit. Accordingly, the law has for decades allowed families with mixed immigration status to receive public housing subsidies, so long as ineligible family members did not themselves receive any financial subsidies. The new proposal, announced in April 2019, would prohibit family members who are undocumented from residing in their homes. In many cases, the eligible family members are children, and these minors would not be able to live without their parents, resulting in the effective eviction of entire families.
As HUD’s own analysis concludes, the proposed rule would eliminate housing assistance for more than 108,000 people, including at least 55,000 children, many of whom are U.S. citizens or otherwise eligible for housing assistance. In New York alone, it is estimated that more than 11,400 people would be impacted, at least half of them being children.
In the comment letter submitted today, the attorneys general argue that this substantial loss of housing benefits will also cause significant economic and social harms to the states, including greater homelessness, reduced productivity, and a higher incidence of significant health problems.
States will have to bear significant administrative and social benefit costs if the rule goes into effect. Private housing providers will be far less likely to participate in subsidized housing programs, leaving States to find additional affordable housing options and to plan for increased rates of evictions and homelessness.