Low-income Alabama residents receiving federal assistance might experience increased rent by more than $800 a year

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Low-income Alabama residents receiving federal assistance might experience increased rent by more than $800 a year.

The possible rate increase could impact more than 180,000 people and about 83,000 households according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Al.com reported . The center says the average HUD rent would go up 20 percent.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson introduced the rent increases in April as part of the “Making Affordable Housing Work Act.” The act would require households that receive federal housing assistance to pay 35 percent of their gross income in rent, up from the current 30 percent.

“HUD-assisted households are now required to surrender a long list of personal information, and any new income they earn is ‘taxed’ every year in the form of a rent increase. Today, we begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time,” Carson said.

The plan would also raise the minimum monthly rent from $50 to $150 and eliminate some deductions for households with high expenses, such as medical care or childcare costs.

In April, Carson said the changes were necessary in an effort to make rent policies “simpler, more transparent and more predictable.” But in recent days, he seemed to have backed off the rate increase.

“The reason we had to consider raising rents at all is because we were dealing with a $41 billion budget,” Carson said during a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “And in order to be able to keep from raising rents on the elderly and the disabled, and in order to not displace people who are already being taken care of, that was necessary.”

The average annual gross rent per affected household in Alabama is $3,270 and would balloon to $4,090 based off the possible rent increase.

The newspaper reports the average increase in Alabama would be the 10th highest in the country.