In this conversation, Reid Cramer and Jeff Lubell discuss ideas to reform federal rental housing assistance programs in order to more effectively encourage existing recipients to build assets and make progress toward economic security. They argue that the government should be developing and evaluating the next generation of economic security policies that would incorporate earnings incentives and asset-building objectives into the basic structure of rental housing assistance for all families in subsidized housing. One such approach would be to offer every recipient of housing assistance the ability to build assets through a Rental Assistance Asset Account (RAAA) that would grow as the family's earnings rise. By transforming the current rent formula, which requires families to pay 30 percent of their adjust income for rent, these accounts would provide families with a strong incentive to increase their earnings and a powerful opportunity to build wealth. If offered to all families receiving housing assistance, this approach has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of families and maybe even a million more. Jeffrey Lubell Executive Director, Center for Housing Policy Reid Cramer Director, Asset Building Program New America Foundation
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