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Remarks on Section 8’s voucher program ‘ridiculous,’ ill-founded

A Reporter story in the Aug. 13 edition quoted Eric Lindsey of The Bentley Real Estate Group as saying that the Section 8 market is “killing the regular market.”

That’s a ridiculous and inaccurate statement. The Section 8 voucher program was established during the first Nixon administration as an alternative to traditionally built public housing developments; it gave families of low income a more flexible choices of homes.

The private market sets the rents. The voucher assures that the family pays no more than 30 percent of the rent and HUD supplements the balance. Since the Reagan administration, Congress has been reluctant to increase the amount of vouchers available nationwide because of the increase of rents created by the private owners of multi-family developments. Lindsey would have us believe the nation is flooded with voucher holders flooding the apartment lists; would that that were true.

Lindsey admitted that he switched from condominiums to rentals at his Codman Square development and “ the majority of the tenants have Section 8 subsidies.” So who is he kidding? Bentley is making all the money they want to make because the voucher protects his rental structure.

What’s killing the rental market are condominium conversions together with lousy property management and greedy landlords – not the Section 8 voucher program. Lindsey admitted part of that himself when he said “ the standard market tenant ...can’t afford the $1,500 [average rent] with cash and no assistance”. The private housing market set the $1,500,not HUD or the Congress.