Oppose Proposed Regulation That Will Leave 55,000 Children Without a Home 

The Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) in the federal register on May 10, 2019.

Currently, undocumented immigrants cannot receive federal housing assistance, but families of mixed-immigration status can live in subsidized housing if at least one member of the household is eligible to receive assistance.

  • When a family of mixed-immigration status receives housing assistance, the family’s subsidy is pro-rated to account for only legally eligible residents.
  • There is no current requirement to reveal immigration status – an applicant can opt out of the benefit for themselves without disclosing their immigration status.

The proposed rule would make two changes:

  1. It would require verification of immigration status for everyone in the household under the age of 62; and
  2. It requires that the leaseholder be in eligible immigration status.

It is important to express your opposition! Submit your comment by July 9, 2019.

The Keep Families Together campaign – a joint effort of the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) – is the best source of advocacy tools and information.

What to tell Community Members 

This is only a proposed rule. The final rule is not likely to go into effect for many months.

Affordable housing is essential for families to thrive. If you have questions about your situation or whether you should remain in your housing, consult a housing attorney:

  • Houston Volunteer Lawyers: (713) 228-0735
  • Lonestar Legal Aid: (713) 652-0077

Sample Template 

Sample Header

Office of General Counsel, Rules Docket Clerk
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street SW, Room 10276
Washington, DC 20410-0500

Re: HUD Docket No. FR-6124-P-01, RIN 2501-AD89 Comments in Response to Proposed Rulemaking: Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status

Sample first paragraph

I am writing on behalf of [your organization’s/agency’s name] in response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule to express our strong opposition to the changes regarding “verification of eligible status,” published in the Federal Register on May 10, 2019 (RIN 2501-AD89; HUD Docket No. FR-6124-P-01). [Insert sentence about why your organization/agency opposes the verification of eligible status rule.] We urge the rule to be withdrawn in its entirety, and that HUD’s long-standing regulations remain in effect.

[Insert paragraph describing your organization/agency, its mission (if applicable), why this proposed rule and its implications are particularly urgent to you, and the expertise or background that you have on these and related issues, such as housing and homelessness. If you are a service or housing provider, consider including specific data on the populations you serve. If you are a state/local organization, consider including demographic information. If you cite data or studies, be sure to attach them to the comment letter and upload them as well, if possible, or, if not, to include live links and ask that any cited materials be considered part of your comment.]

Sample conclusion

As stated above, [brief restatement of some of your arguments as to why the proposed rule will hurt immigrants, their families, and the U.S. as a whole]. We urge HUD to immediately withdraw its current proposal, and dedicate its efforts to advancing policies that strengthen—rather than undermine—the ability of immigrants to support themselves and their families in the future. If we want our communities to thrive, everyone in those communities must be able to stay together and get the care, services and support they need to remain healthy and productive.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed rulemaking.

[Name, Title, and contact info]

The comment period closes in:


How to Write Your Comment

The administration must read and respond to each unique comment, so it is important to personalize your comment. At least ONE THIRD of the comment must be in your own words.

Here are some additional tips for your comment:

The more comments, the better.  If 5 people or organizations submit the same exact comment letter or sign on to someone else’s comment, that counts as just 1 comment.  If each person/agency sends in their own comments, that counts as 5 comments.

The comment box allows you to attach documents. Please attach relevant research and supporting documents so they become part of the record.

Alternatively, you can cite to links in the body of your comment (or a footnote) and specifically request that the agency read the linked material.

Explain why you have credibility, are uniquely qualified, your educational or professional background, and consider attaching your resume or CV.

We encourage non-English speakers to comment! Submit the original, along with an English translation, and a translator’s statement:

  • I, [translator’s name], hereby declare that I am fluent in [language] and English and that this translation is a true, accurate and complete version of the original text to the best of my knowledge.

You can submit on behalf of a friend or relative; and attorneys may submit separate comments on behalf of each client (be sure to acknowledge your relationship to provide context and legitimacy).

Talking Points

The real issue is the lack of sufficient funding to ensure that every family who is eligible for HUD assistance has access to one of the most basic of human rights—a safe, accessible, and affordable place to call home.

This rule will directly impact thousands of immigrant families’ access to housing and will have a chilling effect that puts thousands more at risk of

The proposed rule is not about keeping undocumented immigrants from benefiting from federal housing assistance. The law already prohibits
undocumented immigrants from accessing these subsidies.

Just because someone is “ineligible” for public housing and Section 8 doesn’t mean that they are undocumented. There are immigrants with legal
status who are “ineligible” and live in mixed-status households with their assistance decreased.

HUD’s own analysis shows that more than 55,000 children, who are U.S. citizens or otherwise eligible to receive housing benefits, could face eviction under the proposed rule.

Nine million U.S. citizens currently receiving HUD assistance and about 120,000 elderly immigrants are at risk of losing their housing assistance, if they cannot meet the proposed rule’s new requirements to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status.

While HUD claims the agency proposed the rule out of concern for long wait lists, this rule will reduce the number of subsidies provided to families.
By getting rid of mixed-status families, about $200 million new dollars would have to be provided to families with all eligible members. To pay for
the higher costs, HUD would be forced to reduce the quality and quantity of assisted housing.

If the Trump Administration were truly concerned about the affordable housing crisis, it would not have repeatedly proposed severe cuts to
housing assistance.

The proposed rule will continue to engender fear and chaos among immigrants and their families and cause thousands of eligible families to
forgo their housing assistance and face homelessness.

The proposed rule will be administratively burdensome to implement for housing authorities and private owners of Section 8-assisted properties.
Housing providers will be forced to focus their resources on terminating and evicting families, while diverting resources away from property maintenance
and the employment-related resident services they already provide to pay for additional staff and regulatory compliance.

These additional burdens could deter private housing providers from participating in the Section 8 programs, worsening the affordable housing crisis.

Other resources & Data