Philly officials fight proposed federal housing rule that could leave thousands of children homeless

Pat Loeb
July 09, 2019 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia City Hall.

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia officials are fighting a proposed federal housing regulation that even its authors acknowledge could leave thousands of children homeless. The rule is intended to keep illegal immigrants out of public housing, but most of those who get evicted would be legally-documented children.

The rule would prohibit families of mixed status from receiving federal housing subsidies. 

Currently, undocumented immigrants cannot receive subsidies but can reside with people who are here legally. Housing subsidies are pro-rated to make sure only legal residents are covered. 

The new rule would force out even legal residents if they live with parents or children who are undocumented. 

Federal housing officials say 70 percent of people in mixed status households are here legally and most of them are children. They say the rule likely would result in at least temporary homelessness for many of those children.

"The fact that the government would knowingly and willfully take a step that would cause people that are currently housed to become homeless is unconscionable," said Liz Hersh, director of homeless services for Philadelphia.

Liz Hersh is director of homeless services for Philadelphia. She's one of three officials, including Mayor Kenney and immigrant affairs director Miriam Enriquez, to file comments opposing the draft rule. 

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