Rental subsidies to be based on ZIP code

September 25, 2010

NOTE — the settlement discussed below has far reaching implications.  The problem has been that rents in certain areas of major cities are higher than other areas — and if HUD used an average rent number for the entire city then Section 8 residents were destined to live in only lower income areas where the rent could be covered by their Section 8 certificates/vouchers — congregating lower income primarily minority residents in lower income minority areas.

The Story — A recent legal settlement will make it possible for thousands of North Texas residents who receive federally subsidized rental vouchers to move out of blighted areas to neighborhoods with higher rents.

The agreement, between the nonprofit Inclusive Communities Project Inc. of Dallas and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, could lead to major shifts in where roughly 28,000 households locate.

Under a pilot project that begins Friday, HUD will change the way it determines how much aid people can receive. That will allow recipients to move to apartments that charge higher rents than what was previously allowed. A large number of voucher holders now live in southern Dallas.

Currently, a family cannot rent a two-bedroom apartment that rents for more than $894 a month in the Dallas area. That was based on a regional average of fair market rent.

The change, specific to individual ZIP codes, will open the possibility to move into apartments that rent for more that $1,300 in some areas. However, landlords are not required to accept vouchers.

Read remainder of the story at Dallas Morning News.

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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