This week, Montana Budget & Policy Center released a report on the federal Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This program provides rental assistance for 5,628 Montana households living on poverty-level incomes, making an average yearly income of $12,360. These households include tenants living with disabilities, families raising children, and senior citizens who depend on these vouchers so they can afford to keep a roof over their heads. By making housing costs affordable, vouchers can prevent folks from having to pick between paying the rent, putting food on the table, or buying medicine. Rental assistance is proven to lift people out of poverty and improve long-term outcomes for children who get to grow up in stable and safe homes.
However, the HCV program has fallen short of achieving its intended goals. Housing vouchers are not an entitlement benefit. The number of households that qualify for rental assistance far exceeds the number of vouchers available. There are many steps our federal government can take to improve the efficiency of this program. Congress is currently negotiating legislation we hope will make long-term, sustainable investments Americans need to build healthy, secure, and successful lives. This plan should include providing more affordable housing and expanding the housing choice voucher program.
Please read our latest report to learn more about how vital the housing choice voucher program is to so many of our neighbors.