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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 12, 2000


I am pleased that, today, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo is announcing a plan to increase payment levels for Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers. Raising the fair market rent level in certain difficult housing markets across the country will increase the pool of apartments affordable to low-income renters by more than 1.4 million units nationwide. This important initiative builds on the significant progress the Vice President and I have made on affordable housing - boosting homeownership to record levels, transforming public housing, stemming the losses of privately-assisted housing, expanding the role of secondary markets, and enlarging the supply of housing vouchers for hard pressed working families.

This decision to change rent guidelines to reflect a changing market complements the 110,000 new housing vouchers secured through the efforts of my Administration working with Congress in the past two years. These housing vouchers subsidize the rents of low-income Americans, enabling them to move closer to job opportunities -- many of which are being created far from where these families live. The new rent rule will give voucher holders more choice and mobility than they have under current regulations.

I urge Congress to again join us in making make more housing available to hard-pressed working families, including those moving from welfare to work, by funding my FY 2001 budget request for 120,000 new housing vouchers. In addition, our proposal for an innovative $50 million Housing Voucher Success Fund would enhance the effect of this fair market rent increase by helping families pay for the cost of transportation and other housing search services they need to access a wider range of available units. These budget proposals would expand the supply of affordable housing for the 5.4 million very-low income families who pay more than half their incomes for housing or live in severely inadequate units, including a growing number of families working full time.

More than fifty years ago, the nation committed itself to the goal of a "decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family." Today's action brings us a step closer toward that goal.