Rep. Waters Applauds HUD Decision to Reverse Policy on Kin-GAP
Rep. Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, today released the following statement regarding her efforts to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's decision to reverse its position on the treatment of Kin-GAP payments in the Section 8 program:
"I was very concerned when I first learned that HUD was treating Kin-GAP payments as income and including them in a family's rent calculations in the Section 8 program. The California Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program (Kin-GAP) provides payments to relative caregivers to take in related children so that the children do not land in the foster care system. For seven years, the program operated with HUD's knowledge and support. And then suddenly, late last year, HUD announced that it would no longer exclude Kin-GAP payments from income. This meant that Kin-GAP families in Section 8 would either see their rents rise exponentially or would face the prospect of becoming ineligible for the program.
"This just wasn't right. HUD was putting families in a position of choosing between their home or their children. It simply wasn't a choice that any caregiver should have to make. So, on March 14, 2008, I introduced H.R. 5645, the Housing Protection and Foster Care Prevention Act of 2008. With 11 original co-sponsors, including 6 members of the California Congressional delegation, the bill would have required HUD to exclude Kin-GAP payments from income calculations.
"However, I am pleased to announce that today I have learned that HUD is going to reverse its policy on Kin-GAP. In a letter to me, a HUD official states that the Department "conducted further analysis of the income exclusion regulations" and found that Kin-Gap payments, and payments received under similar programs, can and will be considered as foster care payments and excluded from income calculations. HUD plans to soon issue a notice stating this position.
"This is a victory for relative caregivers in California and throughout the country who have wondered how they would pay the rent in light of HUD's policy shift. I have received countless letters from relative caregivers in California who were concerned about the impact HUD's policy would have on their families. Hopefully, these families can rest easy now.
"I thank the Department for listening to my concerns, as well as the concerns of my colleagues who co-sponsored H.R. 5645. Now, I call on HUD to ensure that families who saw rent increases as a result of its policy are immediately reinstated at their previous rent. Families who were forced out of the Section 8 program should be reinstated as well."