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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 29, 1999
                             December 29, 1999

Today, President Clinton will announce that his FY 2001 budget will include $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to help America's hard-pressed working families. These housing vouchers subsidize the rents of low-income Americans, enabling them to move closer to job opportunities. Last year, the President secured 50,000 housing vouchers, the first in four years. This November, thanks to the President's leadership, 60,000 additional vouchers were included in the final FY 2000 budget agreement -- after having been eliminated in both the House and Senate bills. Now, as the President prepares to unveil his budget for the next fiscal year, he will urge Congress to fund this initiative and help make housing more affordable for more working Americans.

NEW VOUCHERS WILL HELP FAMILIES MOVE CLOSER TO JOBS. In today's booming economy, about two-thirds of new jobs are being created in the suburbs -- far from where many low-income families live. The new housing vouchers that are part of the President's new budget will help families move closer to a new job, reduce a long commute, or secure more stable housing that will help them get or keep a job. Families with housing vouchers pay about a third of their income in rent, with the vouchers paying the remainder of the cost (up to a maximum rent for a modest apartment in that locality.)

Of the 120,000 new housing vouchers proposed by the President, 32,000 will be targeted to families moving from welfare to work, 18,000 vouchers will help homeless individuals and families who would otherwise have the most difficult time securing permanent housing, and 10,000 vouchers will be used to help low-income families move to new housing constructed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The remaining 60,000 vouchers will be allocated to local areas to help address the large unmet need for affordable housing.

HOUSING VOUCHER PROPOSAL BUILDS ON RECORD OF HELPING HARD-PRESSED WORKING FAMILIES. Housing vouchers are an integral part of the Administration's efforts to reform welfare, reward work, support working families, and provide affordable housing for low-income families.

110,000 Housing Vouchers Over Past Two Years. In FY 1999, the President proposed and Congress approved $283 million for 50,000 new welfare to work housing vouchers, which are now available to help 50,000 current or former welfare recipients in 35 states and two tribes to get or keep a job. Thanks to the President's leadership, the final FY 2000 budget included $347 million for an additional 60,000 housing vouchers for hard-pressed working families, as well as $10.8 billion for the renewal of all Section 8 rent subsidy contracts.

EITC Puts Money Back in Working Families' Pockets. In President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan, EITC was expanded to make work pay for 15 million working families, and in 1998, the EITC lifted 4.3 million Americans out of poverty.

Health Care for Low-Income Working Families. The President has successfully fought to increase low-income families' access to health care. The President, with bipartisan support from the Congress, created the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 allocated $24 billion dollars over the next five years to extend health care coverage to uninsured children through State-designed programs. States will cover up to 5 million children through a combination of Medicaid and CHIP outreach.

Job Access Transportation Grants to help those on Welfare get to Work. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorized $750 million over five years for the President?s Job Access initiative and reverse commute grants. The Job Access competitive grants assist states and localities to develop flexible transportation alternatives, such as van services, for welfare recipients and other low-income workers. This program was funded at $75 million in FY 1999 and FY 2000. Last May, Vice President Gore awarded $71 million in FY 1999 funds to 179 communities in 42 states around the country.

Millions Moving from Welfare to Work. In 1992, President Clinton promised to end welfare as we know it, and three years after the enactment of the welfare reform law, welfare reform is working. We've seen revolutionary changes to promote work and responsibility: welfare rolls are down by half to their lowest level in 30 years, nearly four times more of those on welfare are working, and the employment rate of people receiving welfare in the previous year has increased by 70 percent. All fifty states are meeting the law's overall work requirement, and numerous independent studies confirm that people are moving in record numbers from welfare to work.

Child Care for Working Families. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, federal funding for child care has increased by 80 percent, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.25 million children. Last year, the President proposed an historic child care initiative, but Congress failed to include these critical investments in the final FY 2000 budget.