The Brooke Amendment And Section 8 Housing: Revisited

7 05 2019

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

This is the title of my newest law review article[2] that discusses the landmark laws enacted by Congress: the “Brooke Amendment” with respect to public housing, and the “Section 8” housing program that was intended to extend the benefits of the Brooke Amendment to housing wherever it is located. Put succinctly, the Brooke Amendment capped the payment of rent at twenty-five percent of a person’s income, with the federal government paying the difference; and it provided funds to improve public housing, and to assure the safety of its residents.

Section 8 was envisioned as giving “vouchers” to those who qualified for public housing, and permitting them to find housing anywhere, with the federal government subsidizing their rents when the twenty-five-percent-of-income threshold was passed. Taken together, the Brooke Amendment and Section 8 were America’s answer to the needs of decent housing for its poor. Today, there are two million voucher families.[3]

The United States has an unenviable record of providing affordable housing for its poor, much less for the poorest of the poor—America’s homeless. They have lived on the streets and wherever they could find shelter; and they have been shunned as “lepers” and cast aside to fend for themselves. Many have been and are in desperate need of mental health care and treatment; and they are not far removed from the poor of Calcutta, who have been chronicled down through the decades.

This is particularly true of the elderly, disabled and families with young children, who have slipped through the “cracks” and the societal “safety nets,” to the extent that such protections still exist. However, the elderly of the Boston area were singled out for humane, dignified and uplifting treatment and protection in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when work began by Senator Edward W. Brooke and me in the U.S. Congress—through its two banking committees—to address their plight.

Since then, billions of dollars have been expended, and millions of poor Americans have been helped, which tragically has only scratched the surface—as the numbers of chronically poor and those who are unable to afford private rents continue to rise in the United States. The ever-accelerating cost of housing, and the short supply of existing affordable housing units, have priced many Americans with even good jobs out of decent housing across America, in such areas as “Silicon Valley” (or the San Francisco Bay Area).

They have lived in campers, recreational vehicles (“RVs”) or wherever they could find to sleep. The effects on the poorest of the poor—those farther down the economic totem pole—have been catastrophic, especially in those areas of the United States where inclement weather is a major factor. Many have died, or been victimized, as homeless shelters have been inadequate or closed entirely for various reasons (e.g., funding and/or staffing shortages) in areas where they are needed the most.

Yesterday’s problems are compounded by staggering mental health issues relating to America’s poor and homeless; violent gang activities such as MS-13; dilapidated public housing projects, which may not be helped by the infusion of more federal funds; Social Security retirement benefits that have not kept pace with the costs of food, housing and the medical needs of America’s elderly poor; the influx of illegal immigrants from other countries, who have few discernible skills and nowhere to live; the shortage of qualified professional staff members who can deal effectively with such problems and challenges, and truly make a positive difference; and the increasing demand by most Americans for affordable housing, which has outstripped the available supply.

One size does not fit all. What works in one community may not work in another. And simply throwing money at the staggering problems might not be any solution at all. U.S. taxpayers may say “enough is enough,” and they might be right—at least with respect to their own self-interests. Money cannot be wasted if federal housing programs are to enjoy broad support from the American people. The tasks today are daunting, but the United States and Americans have risen to the challenges of the past, and may be expected to do so in the future.


Ed Brooke

[Senator Edward W. Brooke (1919-2015)]


© 2019, Timothy D. Naegele

[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see and Timothy D. Naegele Resume-19-4-29). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,, and can be contacted directly at

[2]  See Timothy D. Naegele [NOTE: To download The Banking Law Journal article, “The Brooke Amendment And Section 8 Housing: Revisited,” please click on the link to the left of this note]; see also (“Edward W. Brooke Is Dead”) and (“Edward Brooke”)

[3]  But see (“Despite new law, landlords continue to turn away applicants with Section 8 vouchers”) and (“LA Wants To Stop Landlords From Rejecting Section 8 Vouchers”) and (“LA considers prohibiting landlords from rejecting housing assistance vouchers”—”Nearly half of the people getting a Section 8 voucher in L.A. will end up losing it because they can’t find any landlords who will rent to them”) and (“End Section 8 housing discrimination”—”[A]t a time when cities and counties are increasingly relying on vouchers to help reduce homelessness, many landlords won’t even consider leasing to tenants whose rent would be paid, in whole or in part, by the government. The problem is particularly acute in cities with high rents and low vacancies. In Los Angeles, nearly half the people trying to use a Section 8 voucher had it expire in 2017 before they could find a place to live, up from 18% in 2011. Several cities, including San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco, have already banned discrimination against tenants with Section 8 and other housing vouchers.  . . . But California can’t end housing discrimination on a city-by-city basis. State lawmakers need to go further and pass Senate Bill 329, which would enact the ban statewide.  . . . Landlords argue that high denial rates aren’t driven by discrimination but by the paperwork, inspections and restrictions that come with rental subsidy programs. For example, it’s hard to raise the rent, even modestly, on voucher tenants. Plus, they note, the supposed “market rent” the federal government is willing to cover is often too low in California’s overheated markets, where the bigger problem is a lack of affordable housing units”) and (“Boston receives 1,000 housing vouchers for homeless”) and (“NY Landlords Can’t Discriminate Against Section 8 Anymore”) and (“Chicago’s Section 8 Vouchers Increasing In Black Communities, Declining In White Neighborhoods”) and (“D.C. nonprofit offers online fair housing course designed to prevent discrimination by landlords”)

The Speech—Is Barack Obama Smoking Pot Again?

1 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

As Barack Obama wrote in his biography, “Dreams from My Father”:

Junkie.  Pothead.  That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.[2]

Is he using again . . . or is he simply pathetic and a bad joke?  In his televised speech to the American people, he announced that “all U.S. troops will leave [Iraq] by the end of next year.”[3] This artificial deadline may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; and if so, the anti-war, far-Left Obama will be responsible personally.  Among other things, Iraq is still without a coalition government months after its election, and political compromise remains elusive.[4]

The Wall Street Journal was correct when it stated in an editorial prior to the speech:

The U.S. kept hundreds of thousands of troops in Germany for decades after World War II, and it still has tens of thousands in South Korea and Japan. It would be a tragedy if after seven years of sacrifice, the U.S. now failed to assist Iraqis as they try to build a federal, democratic state in an often hostile neighborhood.[5]

He is bringing our troops home to no jobs, or to poor jobs with little or no financial security once they leave the military.  Obama’s central responsibility as president—which is true of all presidents—is to protect the United States and the American people against our enemies.  It is not, as Obama stated, to put the millions who have lost their jobs back to work.  This is the task of private enterprise, not any “big brother” government.

International terrorism and other very real national security concerns still loom, which might produce flashpoints at any time. We have enemies who seek to destroy us—a fact that seems to escape Obama[6], and is sometimes forgotten by many Americans as 9/11 recedes in our memories. While it might be attractive for the president and the Democrats to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most.

America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.  Obama is naïve and out of touch with reality—almost as much as Joe Biden, which is scary.  He spoke of “record deficits,” but failed to mention that he created them; and he is pandering to the American people (aka his far-Left constituency) in the hopes that the approaching political “blood bath” in November’s elections will not materialize.

At best, it is wishful thinking, devoid of attachments to reality, because a political tsunami is building that may engulf Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their minions.  America and other nations are in uncharted waters; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times.

The facts are that we are in the midst of the “Great Depression II,” and there is nothing that Obama can do about it, except to make things worse.  It will run its course, probably toward the end of this decade—although it has been suggested that it might take a generation.  Between now and then, the carnage in America and worldwide will be mind-boggling.[7]

Also, Obama is caught in the “tar” of his Afghan war.[8] Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has noted that the full complement of additional troops ordered to Afghanistan by the president is only now arriving.[9] However, when President Obama announced the deployment of an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan, he said the U.S. would begin pulling out by July of 2011—just before his reelection campaign might begin in earnest, which is a recipe for defeat.

It is a political decision, and tantamount to conceding the country to our enemies sometime next year.  Obama is apt to be a one-term president who is unable to run for reelection, like Lyndon Johnson in 1968.  No amount of flowery rhetoric or contrived puffery by the president will change these facts.

Throw in the Tea Party movement, as well as a majority of Americans who support the wholesale repeal of ObamaCare—and other crises to come—and the president is engaged in “Mission Impossible,” or certainly close to it.  He can give all of the speeches he wants, until the cows come home, but they are unlikely to make any appreciable difference.  His goose is cooked, and the following observation may prove to be prophetic:

Jimmy Carter may be heading to #2 on the [list of] all-time worst presidents in American history, thanks to “O.”[10]

This may be an understatement.  If our “victory” in Iraq is lost, Obama will be blamed.  If we “lose” in Afghanistan, Obama will be blamed.  If America’s economy does not return to robust health—which it will not during the balance of his presidency—he will be blamed.  The bloom is off the rose of his presidency.  It is long gone.  If November is a disaster for the Democrats and Obama, he may be perceived as a lame-duck president in short order.  Among other things, Hillary and Bill Clinton and their minions (e.g., James Carville) may be “gunning” for him.

What will be clear, crystal clear, is that Obama was the wrong man for the presidency.  He had feet of clay, which he and his handlers hid from the American people—before he was elected.  He was a fad and a feckless naïf, and a tragic Shakespearean figure who will be forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history.  His naïveté was matched by his overarching narcissism; and he was more starry-eyed and “dangerous” than Jimmy Carter.  In the final analysis, his presidency is likely to be considered a sad watershed in history.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.,

[2] See Obama, “Dreams from My Father” (paperback “Revised Edition,” published by Three Rivers Press, 2004), p. 93; see also pp. 120, 270;

[3] See, e.g.,

[4] See, e.g.

[5] See

[6] See, e.g.

[7] See; see also and and’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/

[8] See; see also

[9] See

[10] See

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