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Archive for Sunday, May 19, 2002

Changes urged in rules for housing assistance

May 19, 2002

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— People who get federal help to pay for housing should be required to work, and rules that discourage them from marrying and pursuing higher-paying jobs should be changed, a commission created by Congress will recommend.

The proposals, which would extend the basic philosophy behind the 1996 welfare overhaul to housing, are among the ideas laid out in the bipartisan Millennial Housing Commission's final report that soon will go to Capitol Hill.

The executive summary of the 150-page report was obtained by The Associated Press.

The report urges lawmakers to devote significant new federal money and more attention to the worsening housing shortage.

"The nation faces a widening gap between the demand for affordable housing and the supply of it," the report says. "It is time for America to put ... quality-of-life issues on a par with cost considerations and make housing programs work to improve communities and individual lives."

Lawmakers created the 21-member commission in 1999 to guide them on changes in housing policy.

While some in Congress are pushing housing-related measures, none of the plans is as comprehensive as many in the housing industry and advocacy community and now the commission insist is needed.

Among the most contentious ideas is a work requirement for rent assistance.

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