Ben Carson's rent increases can empower domestic abusers

TheHill | 6/9/2018 | Liesl Nydegger, opinion contributor
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Rent is becoming less affordable, particularly those who are low-income, and getting worse. A proposed increase for people using federal housing subsidies will most affect single mothers and their children, putting them at risk for homelessness, increasing their risk for domestic violence.

We knew Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s idea to encourage self-sufficiency would hurt, now we know now much: Federal subsidies are expected to jump 20 percent, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for the Associated Press. People already working every day would be squeezed even more.

Americans - Housing - Subsidies - Millions - Income

Over 3.3 million extremely low-income Americans receive housing subsidies, and millions more are homeless or pay more than half their income in rent, locked out of housing subsidies because of HUD limits or lack of low-cost housing.

A majority of domestic violence survivors already have experienced financial abuse. This means their partner has kept them from their finances, wouldn’t let them work, harassed them at work by showing up or calling excessively, or purposely destroyed their credit.

Partners - Women - Point - Work - Jobs

Physically abusive partners may abuse women to the point they cannot show up for work and lose their jobs. If women are able to leave an abusive partner, they often can only afford low-cost housing. But where will they go if they can’t retreat to the safety of affordable housing?

As a public health researcher embedded in these communities, the answer is simple: Nowhere.

Women - Relationships - Abusers - Rent - Percent

Women in abusive relationships are likely to leave abusers when the rent’s too high. Of the 25 percent of women abused by partners, many stay with or return to abusers because there’s not enough room in shelters or available affordable housing. Higher rent will only increase the likelihood of staying in abusive relationships to avoid homelessness.

I’ve recently spent time in Milwaukee interviewing low-income women and mothers, most in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TheHill
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