The request also includes SEVRA’s definition of extremely low income (ELI), which, in effect, would modify the current income targeting for public housing, voucher, and project-based assistance program eligibility. The new definition of ELI would be the higher of the national poverty level, adjusted for family size, or 30% of area median family income. The HUD Secretary would also have the flexibility to adjust ELI limits further to address local conditions, including in order to serve higher income households in higher income communities.
The request would also raise the standard deduction for elderly and disabled families from $400 to $675 while raising the threshold for medical and handicapped assistance expense deductions, for the purpose of determining rents, from 3% to 10% of a family’s annual net income.
The FY12 request would also give the HUD Secretary the authority to conduct “rent policy demonstrations” involving a “limited number” of families to determine the effectiveness of rent policies that may be different from the current Brooke standard, which caps each household’s rent at 30% of its income to ensure affordability. While not in SEVRA, this provision would closely track the “alternative rent work incentives” authorized by SEVRA. Finally, the request would change how fair market rents (FMRs) are developed, adopted, and used (see article above on FMRs).