Secretary Kemp and the Housing Policy Shell Game

April 16, 1991 • Briefing Paper No. 12

At a time when the nation faces large deficits and budget shortages, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp’s lack of leadership is contributing to soaring increases in HUD spending. Kemp has failed to push aggressively to replace existing housing programs with vouchers, even though the cost of a 20‐​year voucher program is roughly 40 percent of that of subsidized new construction. He has also failed to articulate a clear challenge to the one‐​for‐​one replacement requirement, which is a boon for the construction industry, and the resale restrictions that effectively nullify any incentive for tenants to buy and assume responsibility for their own housing. The result is a 27 percent increase in HUD’s budget and a national housing act that will cost taxpayers $27.5 billion in FY 1991 and $29.9 billion in FY 1992.