What will happen to the names on the waiting list for Section 8 and Public Housing if funding gets cut next year?

In an opinion piece written on the eve of the 2016 Presidential election, we wrote that if elected, Donald Trump might try to reduce or eliminate housing assistance programs like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

Now that Trump has been elected President, given his rhetoric during the election, his plan to cut taxes and reduce spending and his feelings that there is rampant fraud, waste and abuse in programs like food stamps, it isn't hard to imagine a President Trump leading an effort to reduce funding to or completely eliminate these types of programs.

However, it is impossible to know exactly what Trump plans to do as he has not mentioned Section 8 or other housing programs specifically. We hold out hope that he realizes that these programs are not being abused and help keep millions of hard working American families out of homelessness.

With that being said, if he was successful in implementing a funding reduction or complete elimination of a program like Section 8, it is hard to predict what might happen to existing program waiting lists.

Housing authorities would likely be more focused on the millions of families that would lose their current Section 8 vouchers.

If program funding was cut drastically but the program survived, most likely, the families who had received their vouchers most recently would have them taken back. This is what happened on a smaller scale when the sequestration cuts took effect in 2011. Those families would then go back onto the waiting list at the top, pushing those on the waiting list even further down.

If Section 8 funding was reduced to $0, the same thing would occur on a much larger scale. All families who lost their housing subsidy would likely be placed on the waiting list and be the first to receive a voucher if and when program funding was reinstated.

As far as those on the waiting list right now, either way, this would severely delay you ever getting a housing voucher. It wouldn't be hard to imagine housing authorities simply shutting down their waiting lists altogether as eliminating program funding would also eliminate funding for the cost of administering the program by the housing authority.

Important note: This is obviously a dooms day scenario for low income Americans who rely on the Section 8 voucher to allow them to afford housing in the current market environment. Housing advocates, including Affordable Housing Online, hold out hope that President-elect Trump finds some compassion for those less fortunate than he, especially since a large portion of his support came from poor, working class Americans that responded to his jobs message. It is important that everyone remind him and the Republican Congress that housing assistance programs are an important part of America's safety net and that vilifying low income Americans is well, un-American.