A HUD analysis report estimates the rule could affect 25,000 households and potentially separate or evict mixed-status families — including 55,000 children who are eligible for housing benefits.
U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees and asylum-seekers are currently eligible to receive federal housing assistance. If the proposed rule is implemented and individuals can't provide documents proving eligibility within a permitted time frame, their household will be at risk for losing its housing assistance.
“Ultimately, it's a horrible choice for any family to make,” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia told KQED. “Do we split our family to keep some of them in housing or keep our family together and get displaced and be thrown out on the street?”
The department expects entire household units to evacuate out of fear of families being separated, but suggests they should instead consider asking ineligible members to leave.
At a press conference with housing experts on Tuesday, Arianna Cook-Thajudeen, a Bank of America legal fellow with the National Housing Law Project, said she also foresees families sacrificing their assistance in order to remain together.
“Ninety-five percent of the individuals of mixed-status families are people of color, of which 85 percent are Latino,” she said. “Most of these families are comprised of parents who are ineligible and eligible school-age children. Therefore, it is likely that most families will choose to stay together and forgo their assistance.