Brooke Amendment

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Cover of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1969

Brooke Amendment” is the common name for section 213 (a) of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-152) that was sponsored by Senator Edward Brooke III (R-MA), which capped rent in public housing projects at 25% of tenant's income. It amended section 2(1), paragraph two, of the US Housing Act of 1937, and was enacted on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1969.[1][2] The Brooke Amendment became the first instance of the benchmark to measure housing affordability, which became known as the "30 percent rule of thumb"[3] in 1981 when the 25 percent cap was raised to 30 percent of tenant income.[4]

Senator Brooke advocated for two other subsections that were enacted in the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1969. Section 213 (b) gives the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authority to revoke the 25 percent cap if it results in a reduction of total welfare assistance. Section 213 (c) amends section 14 of the Housing Act of 1937 to ensure the "low-rent character of public housing projects" by fixing annual contract contributions according to the current Federal rate of interest.[1] Together, the three subsections can be referred to as the "Brooke Amendments",[5] although the pluralized term is less common. One consequence of this amendment has been an increase in poorer families performing work for cash, which has perpetuated cycles of poverty.


  1. ^ a b Housing and urban development act of 1969 ;Public law 91-152 and section-by-section summary. Hathi Trust. Washington. 1 January 1969. Retrieved 3 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Major Legislation on Housing and Urban Development Enacted Since 1932" (PDF). Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 3 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Rental Burdens: Rethinking Affordability Measures | HUD USER". Retrieved 7 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Edson, Charles L. (2011). "Affordable Housing: an intimate history" (PDF). American Bar Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  5. ^ Edson, Charles L. (2011). The legal guide to affordable housing development (2nd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: American Bar Association. pp. chapter 1 – Affordable Housing: an intimate history. ISBN 9781616329839.