TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - June 14, 2006)
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume, and at the conclusion of my remarks I will yield control of the time to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler).
Mr. Chairman, this is the antidisplacement amendment. It is a substantive amendment to current law included in the appropriations bill. Under current law when units are destroyed, made no longer fit for occupation, for habitation, which have had a section 8 voucher inhabitant, the section 8 voucher stays on and can be transferred to another unit as a matter of right.
This bill adds two words, purely substantive. It is not a financial issue. It adds the words ``under lease,'' which means a unit which had been occupied by a section 8 tenant, if it becomes occupied and 2 days later is then subject for demolition, that section 8 voucher is lost to that community.
What we have is this. Communities are dealing with the issue of an overconcentration, in some cases, of low-income people. We all pay at least lip service to the notion of at least genuine integration in our society: racial, economic and in other ways. We have programs that try to promote this, and they often mean let's destroy some of the units that have been too densely packed together for lowest income people and spread them out.
What the addition of the words by the Appropriations Committee does, and it didn't go through the authorizing committee, is to say to a community, when you engage in this process of better distributing and better integrating people, you may lose some of your overall capacity to serve people. That is a terrible choice to put to people. You should not tell a community because you do not want such concentration, you will then be able to accommodate fewer low-income people. That is part of our problem.
You know, there was a time, Mr. Chairman, when urban renewal was known in the black community as Negro removal, because what it meant was you tore down the buildings where all the low-income people lived and you built no replacements.
We now have a policy that say yes, tear down some of them, thin them out, reconfigure them, make them more habitable, but don't have that result in an overall loss of those units which are available for low-income people.
The addition of those two words, ``under lease,'' means more than already is the case; because we have not achieved perfection and the achievement is ideal, we will lose some of the units in communities that decide to deconcentrate poverty and race, will have to pay the price to some extent of having fewer section 8 units available than before. I think that is a very grave error.
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