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Fact check: Joe Biden’s childhood apartment later became Section 8 housing

2020-10-21 07:45:52

The claim: Joe Biden stated he received housing assistance as a child. 

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were confronted with various issues during their dueling town halls on Oct. 15. For Biden, comments pertaining to affordable housing have morphed into a viral social media claim.  

“Biden said he lived in Sec 8 housing as a little boy?” Facebook user Cherie Baldwin writes in an Oct. 18 post, referring to the federal housing assistance program initially created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative and now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. “Sec 8 started in 1974 when he was 30 years old.” Baldwin goes on to question whether Biden made a blunder or lied, ultimately concluding the presidential candidate was lying.

Baldwin’s post received over 1,700 shares, and similar posts have gained considerable attention. Many comments within these posts question Biden’s truthfulness. 

“He’s just following the father of all lies! Satan!” Alan Gregg commented under a Facebook post sharing the same claim.

“Ole Joe has a million lies to spread,” Richard Amos said in another.      

USA TODAY has reached out to Baldwin for further comment.    

More: Fact check: Trump’s big acceptance speech

What did Biden actually say? 

During the town hall moderated by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Biden fielded questions from Pennsylvania voters, among them, Cedric Humphrey, an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh. Humphrey asked Biden how he would persuade wary young Black voters to consider voting for him.     

Biden answered by promising early education and economic improvements, mentioning his desire to end redlining, a discriminatory practice that bases availability of financial and other services on race. Biden even offered an anecdote to emphasize his personal interest in affordable housing for all.

“Like my dad, he lost his job up in Scranton, and it took him three years to be able – he moved down to Delaware to Claymont (inaudible), a little steel town. And sent us home to our grandpop to live with him,” Biden says, according to ABC News’ full transcript of the event.

Biden does mention Section 8, but explicitly states that his family’s housing was not a result of the federal program.  

“We finally got back, we lived in apartments. Became Section 8 housing much later, it wasn’t – it was just normal apartments. But it took him five years to be able to buy a home.”           

Our ruling: False

We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research. During the Oct. 15 town hall, Democratic nominee Joe Biden was asked about swaying young Black voters. His response included a reference to his own family’s difficulties securing housing during his childhood. Biden mentions Section 8 — the federal housing assistance program first created under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program — but only that the housing his family received was not a result of it.  

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Joe Biden did not say he lived in Section 8 housing


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