Housing providers who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program may soon see their payment standards increase for voucher holder residents.
September 6, 2022 |
Updated September 8, 2022
On September 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its updated fair market rents (FMRs) for fiscal year 2023. Each year, HUD updates the FMRs to, among other things, set a reasonable payment standard for public housing agency (PHA) payments to housing providers participating in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Nationally, the average FMR increased by about 10 percent.
This update to payment standards comes at a critical time when pandemic recovery, inflationary pressures and the massive housing shortage have forced average rents up across the country. For example, FMRs in Phoenix will increase by 33 percent in response to significant demand.
“These new FMRs will make it easier for voucher holders facing this challenge to access affordable housing in most housing markets, while expanding the range of housing opportunities available to households,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in a press release.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the announcement.
New Data sources
Typically, HUD utilizes the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate the 40th percentile gross rents of households which recently moved into an area. This often provides an accurate picture of near-median rents for new leases. Last year, however, the Census Bureau announced that it would not release the estimates from the 2020 ACS because the COVID-19 pandemic had interfered with data collection.
Instead, HUD supplemented private market data to maintain the accuracy of the FMRs, sourcing data from RealPage, Moody’s Analytics, CoStar Group, CoreLogic, Apartment List and Zillow, as examples. Industry groups, including NAA, raised concerns about the use of this data. Using private data precludes stakeholders from checking to see if the data are consistent across time and location, and if they are representative of the population in question rather than collected based on the company’s anticipated ability to sell them. HUD is expected to use solely once again the ACS data in following years.
In addition to higher rates, HUD will award approximately 19,700 new Housing Choice Vouchers to PHAs. This increase is made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 which was signed into law on March 15, 2022. HUD has sent a notification to eligible PHAs informing them of the new vouchers providing a deadline of September 2 to accept or decline the increase.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) urges policymakers to adopt responsible and sustainable housing policies. Additional vouchers and FMR increases are desperately needed for low- and moderate-income households and housing providers who have been thrust into financial uncertainty amid economic turmoil due to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, there is more to be done. The HCV Program is fraught with payment delays, impractical inspection requirements and administrative red tape which makes housing provider participation infeasible in countless markets. To help address the industry’s concerns, NAA continue to prioritize and encourage support for the Choice in Affordable Housing Act (S. 1820/H.R. 6880), introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in the Senate, and by Representatives Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO-05) and John Katko (R-NY-24) in the House.
NAA worked closely with the bill’s sponsors to include several industry priorities, which were formulated with NAA member feedback, in the legislation to speed up tenancy approval processes, reduce duplicative inspections requirements and provide better ongoing support for housing provider participants. We look forward to continuing this work with Congress and the Administration to advance the industry’s advocacy goals and responsibly and sustainably address the nation’s housing affordability challenges.
For more information on Housing Choice Voucher Program policy, please contact Ben Harrold, NAA’s Manager of Public Policy.