On November 20, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the agency would release more than 15,000 new vouchers to public housing authorities (PHAs) across the United States, providing non-elderly, disabled persons with greater opportunities to find quality housing. Three-hundred and twenty five PHAs would receive awards, totaling $131.3 million through HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program.
View HUD’s award distribution list to learn about the impact locally. The PHAs with the largest number of “Mainstream voucher” awards are Miami-Dade Housing Agency (Florida), Kentucky Housing Corporation-State Agency, Quincy Housing Authority (Massachusetts), Housing Authority of Fort Worth (Texas), Houston Housing Authority (Texas), and the Housing Authority of King County (Washington). All of the above received approximately 200 or more new Mainstream vouchers.
As background, the Mainstream Voucher Program is administered using the same rules as other housing choice vouchers. Mainstream vouchers serve any household that includes a non-elderly, disabled person.
To qualify for the awards, HUD requires PHAs to “lease” at least 80 percent of their allotment of vouchers within one year. While the National Apartment Association (NAA) applauds HUD’s efforts to increase housing opportunities for low-income, disabled renters, we remain concerned that the release of thousands of new Mainstream vouchers into markets may translate into renewed discussions about “source of income” protections in state and local fair housing laws. NAA advises affiliates and members to remain vigilant of legislative challenges and encourages collaboration with local PHAs to urge voluntary participation in the Mainstream Voucher Program and other housing voucher programs. The most effective incentives to voluntary participation are to remove administrative barriers and streamline the programs to be more in line with the standard leasing transaction.