HUD Rule on Mixed-Status Familes in Housing

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Authored By: Oreogn Law Center

Information on the Proposed Rule

On May 10, 2019, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a proposed rule called “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.” The rule would change HUD’s regulations by adding more restrictions for eligibility for certain federal housing assistance provided by HUD based on immigration status. IMPORTANT: This rule is not in effect. 

If this rule takes effect, I might lose my housing. Should I move now?

  • At this point it is not advisable for families who might be affected by this rule change to give up their housing. The rule change is in its early stages and is not yet in effect. There will be time for families to decide what to do after the rule is final.
  • Take time now to learn the details and how they might impact you and your family.

What would the rule do?

  • The proposed HUD rule says that all tenants living in a unit that receives HUD housing assistance must have eligible immigration status. Current law allows families to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is decreased to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance.  Non-eligible tenants do not have to verify their immigration status.
  • Status for all tenants under 62 years old will be verified using the SAVE database that is run by Department of Homeland Security.

Whom would the rule affect?

  • Mixed-status families receiving most types of HUD housing assistance. Mixed-status families are households with members who have eligible and ineligible immigration statuses. Not eligible doesn’t mean undocumented  Immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible for public housing and Section 8 programs.  
  • Families in public housing, some rural development programs or receiving a subsidy through a Section 8 voucher or a project-based subsidy would all be affected by the rule change (For a complete list of housing that is covered by the rule, see the information from NHLP in the PDF attachment.) The rule does not affect most housing provided by US department of Agriculture Rural Housing (RD).
  • The rule change would not affect families living in a tax credit property with no additional subsidy. However, some types of low-income housing are a mix of local and federal subsidies.

Are there exceptions?

  • Families that meet the following conditions may be able to keep their housing, even if not all family members have eligible immigration status:
    • The family was receiving assistance from a covered housing program on June 19, 1995,
    • The head of household has eligible immigration status, and
    • The ineligible family members are either the head of household’s spouse, or children or parent of the spouse or head of household
  • Families may be eligible to stay in their housing for up to 18 months after recertification if there is no other comparable affordable housing to move to.

Is the rule in effect yet?

  • The rule is not in effect now and there is not a certain date when it will take effect.
  • The rule can’t become final until after the public comment period ends on July 9, 2019. Even after July 9th, the rule probably won’t take effect for at least another month, and it could take even longer - several months or a year.
  • After the rule takes effect, families will not be required to verify their eligible immigration status until their next scheduled annual recertification.

Where can I learn more?

Download a 2-page PDF with this information

Last Review and Update: Jan 02, 2020
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