U.S. Creates Landlord Task Force to Strong Arm Property Owners into Renting to the Poor
Citing a shortage of affordable housing in “higher opportunity neighborhoods,” the Trump administration is strong arming private landlords nationwide into renting to low-income tenants that get government vouchers. This week the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a special Landlord Taskforce to coerce more property owners to accept the taxpayer-funded subsidies (Housing Choice Voucher—HCV) issued to millions of poor people around the country. HUD Secretary Ben Carson created the special task force after studies conducted by leftist entities found that most landlords don’t accept the government vouchers, especially in nicer neighborhoods.
One of the studies was conducted by the Urban Institute, which is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) along with a roster of other leftist supporters. It measured the prevalence and extent of voucher-related discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and differences between low and high-poverty neighborhoods. “Voucher holders who want to find housing in an opportunity area—perhaps close to high-quality schools, jobs, and transportation— face even more rejection,” the study reads. “We learned that even if landlords said they accepted vouchers, they may treat voucher holders differently during apartment showings—standing them up at higher rates than control testers.” Researchers also determined that landlords were more likely to deny government voucher recipients in low poverty areas compared with high poverty areas. The Urban Institute suggests that the government create legal protections for voucher holders and recruit landlords to participate in the program, particularly in low poverty neighborhoods.
The other study, conducted by the Poverty and Inequality Research Lab at John Hopkins University, examined the role landlords play in shaping the residential experience of low and moderate income renters. It focused on Baltimore, Maryland, Dallas, Texas and Cleveland, Ohio and found that recipients of government housing vouchers encounter tremendous discrimination in the private sector because landlords associate significant stigma with the program. “In theory, the HCV program has the potential to help families move to lower poverty neighborhoods and to access higher quality schools, but it has fallen short of this ideal in part because of a lack of landlords in low-poverty neighborhoods who will accept voucher tenants,” the study reads. Researchers claim that, unlike dozens of studies that examine economic, cultural and institutional mechanisms that trap poor families in low-quality housing and high-poverty neighborhoods, they focused on the role of landlords. The Poverty and Inequality Lab researchers suggest the government expand the pool of voucher landlords.
Trump’s HUD secretary is following the orders of these leftist groups. “These studies tell us that we have a lot of work to do to engage more landlords, so our Housing Choice Voucher Program can offer real choice to the families we serve,” Carson said in an agency statement announcing the new task force. “We will be traveling the country to hear directly from landlords about how we can make this critical program more user friendly.” To push more private landlords to take the vouchers, HUD will conduct listening forums around the country to figure out ways to expand the program, specifically in “higher opportunity neighborhoods where landlord participation is lowest.” The landlord engagement campaign will kick of on September 20 in Washington, D.C. before heading to Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Oregon, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. “After completing these landlord forums, the Landlord Task Force will provide policy recommendations to the Secretary on programmatic changes to increase landlord participation in the HCV Program,” according to the agency press release.
Even after the Trump administration took over, HUD has continued funding many of Barack Obama’s wasteful, socialist programs. Among them is a multi-million-dollar experiment that aims to transform slums into desirable middle-class neighborhoods. Earlier this year, the initiative, known as Choice Neighborhoods, got a $5 million infusion from the Trump administration. Before that Trump’s HUD gave dozens of leftist groups that purport to fight housing discrimination $37 million. The biggest chunk—$999,962—went to NFHA, which had just attacked the president for terminating an Obama program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—DACA) that protects hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.