President Obama has signed into law a measure that aims to streamline federal public housing regulations for the first time in more than fifty years. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri) sponsored the legislation that he calls a great first step.
“We understand that there are other things that need to be improved or fixed in the housing programs of HUD and USDA. We’ll continue to work on it, but this particular bill opened up 19 sections of law and had 65-70 provisions in it. It was a very large and meaningful piece of legislation,” says Luetkemeyer.
The law further limits public housing for those who make too much money.
“About a year ago I guess it was, there was a news story out about people who had high incomes or a high net worth were in public housing. So this is one of the things we addressed in this bill. Get those people out unless there are extenuating circumstances,” says Luetkemeyer.
Luetkemeyer wants residents to be more self-sufficient.
“It’s a program where you should be getting a hand up, not a handout. I think the way we structured this is to incentivize people to leave the program on their own over a period of time.”
The legislation also modernizes the inspection protocol for rental units and is meant to ensure that veterans have fair access to housing and homeless assistance.
Luetkemeyer says the measure, which passed unanimously in both the U.S. House and Senate, will save more than $300 million in five years.