Five public housing agencies (PHAs) are confirmed as FY13 participants in HUD’s Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) demonstration program. According to an announcement from the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research, the following PHAs have agreed to participate: Chattanooga (TN) Housing Authority, the Housing Authority of the City of Laredo (TX), the Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach (CA), the Housing Authority of the County of Cook (IL) and the Town of Mamaroneck (NY) Public Housing Agency.
The Housing Choice Voucher program uses HUD-determined fair market rents (FMRs) to establish maximum allowable rents. Because FMRs are currently calculated for entire metropolitan areas, few units are available to voucher holders in high-cost areas. As a result, many of the units available to voucher holders end up clustered in higher-poverty areas.
The SAFMR demonstration project determines FMRs at the ZIP code level, so payment standards can more closely reflect neighborhood market conditions. For FY13, the SAFMRs are calculated using a rent ratio by dividing the median gross rent across a ZIP code by the median gross rent for the broader metropolitan area. In addition, for FY13, HUD is using new 2006-2010 ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) median gross rent data.
The goal of establishing SAFMRs is to improve the choice of units available to voucher program participants in areas of opportunity. PHAs were selected at random from a set of eligible PHAs. Selected PHAs receive supplemental funds to cover necessary expenses tied to participation, and can decline to participate.
NLIHC supports the development of the SAFMR, and commented in support of the project in July 2010 (see Memo, 7/16/10).
The SAFMRs are listed in the Federal Register, and the announcement can be accessed on HUD website at http://bit.ly/Tyyvf3 (PDF).