HUD proposes a rent increase for residents

HUD proposes a rent increase for residents

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Natamular Carter lost both her legs a decade ago when a teenager texting while driving hit her.

On disability ever since, Carter cares for her three daughters and two grandchildren.

If her federally subsidized rent in MHA's College Park neighborhood were to triple, Carter said she'd have no way to pay that amount of money.

"That's basically my whole income," she said.  "I would only have $70 left.  What am I going to do with $70 and three children to raise?"

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed the change to federal housing subsidies on Wednesday.  It would raise the rent for tenants in government housing up from the current 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of gross income.

The poorest families who pay $50 right now, would have to pay $150.

"That's quite significant," said Marcia Lewis, executive director of the Memphis Housing Authority.

Lewis said the proposal would create an incredible hardship for many of MHA's families, but she is quick to warn, it's only a proposal at this point.

"It's going to be part of the 2019 projected federal budget," she said.  "So there's a possibility it may not go through."

Carson's rent proposal is part of the Trump administrations effort to reform the welfare system.  Carson calls the current housing rules "too confusing" and said too many people have learned how to abuse the system.

Back in South Memphis at College Park, Natamular Carter is grateful for the federal aid she receives and critical of any plan that could possibly hurt her family.

"It just shows that you have no compassion for people who are already struggling," she said, "and people who are trying to make ends meet.  And to talk about tripling the rent?  That's crazy to me!"

Carson's proposal would require approval by Congress. It does contain an exemption for the disabled. Higher rent prices would not go into effect for six years.

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