Tester, Fischer introduce bill to cut red tape for rural housing agencies

Senators’ bipartisan measure eliminates paperwork to free up resources for low-income families

(U.S. Senate) – Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are introducing a bipartisan proposal that cuts burdensome red tape for small public housing agencies nationwide so they can more easily provide affordable housing for low-income families.

The Senators’ Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act would eliminate excessive paperwork for public housing authorities that support fewer than 550 households. The bill also creates a tiered rent system for some small public housing authorities in order to keep rent more affordable for low-income families.

A Department of Housing and Urban Development study found that small housing authorities face a disproportionate level of federal oversight costing small public housing agencies time and diverting resources away from serving low-income families.

“Every American family deserves access to safe and affordable housing. Reducing the burden on small housing agencies will allow those folks to better serve local residents and will make government work better for taxpayers,” Tester said. “Our bipartisan bill gives small housing authorities the flexibility they need to spend more time providing affordable housing and less time filling out paperwork.”

“I’m proud to join Senator Tester to target burdensome regulations that are making it harder for families in need to afford homes,” said Fischer. “Through this legislation, we can help to ensure the federal government works better for rural America.”

“I congratulate and thank Senator Tester and Senator Fischer for introducing the Small Public Housing Authority Opportunity Act of 2015. This timely and thoughtful legislation will provide much-needed administrative and regulatory relief to small housing authorities nationwide, and will allow them to efficiently and cost effectively provide affordable housing in smaller rural and suburban communities,” said Steve Merritt President of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and Executive Director of the Norwood Housing Authority.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1.2 million families live in public housing.

Tester and Fischer teamed up recently and successfully amended the Senate’s education reform bill to give local school boards greater control in the classroom.

Tester and Fischer’s Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act is available online HERE.