Agencies Generally Use All Available Coupon Funding to Assistance Households Afford Real Estate

By Anne Rowe for DPS board, March 22, 2019

[1] For basic information on the Housing Choice Coupon program, see “Policy Essentials: The Housing Choice Coupon Program,” Center on Spending plan and Policy Priorities, https://www.

[2] Gale Holland and Abby Sewell, “Subsidized lease, however nowhere to go: Homeless coupons go unused,” Los Angeles Times, Might 30, 2016, http://www. html. For another example, see Laura Sullivan and Meg Anderson, “Section 8 Vouchers Aid The Poor — But Just If Housing Is Offered,” a National Public Radio story about the experiences of a number of families in Dallas, Might 10, 2017, https://www. A number of reports likewise followed the publication of a new Urban Institute study of property owner habits, pointed out listed below.

[3] Alison Bell, Barbara Sard, and Becky Koepnick, “Prohibiting Discrimination Against Renters Utilizing Housing Vouchers Improves Results,” Center on Budget and Policy Concerns, December 20, 2018, https://www.

[4] “Three Out of 4 Low-Income At-Risk Renters Do Not Get Federal Rental Help,” Center on Spending plan and Policy Top Priorities, https://www.

[5] For a more comprehensive explanation of this and other terms involved with real estate coupons, see Center on Budget plan and Policy Priorities, “Housing Voucher Success and Usage Indicators, and Comprehending Utilization Information,” https://www.

[6] Meryl Finkel and Larry Buron, “Study on Section 8 Voucher Success Rates, Volume I, Quantitative Study of Success Rates in Metropolitan Areas,” Department of Real estate and Urban Development, 2001, https://www. Success rates in metro areas studied varied from 37 to 100 percent.

[7] This figure is the average for 2008 to 2017 for all of the more than 2,000 state and local companies that administer housing vouchers, except for the 39 firms that participate in the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration. Information consist of all Real estate Option Voucher assistance financing got in each year, including moneying for brand-new tenant security, Veterans Affairs Encouraging Housing (VASH), and other brand-new coupons granted to companies throughout the year, and total coupon housing support payments (HAP). In some years, some companies spend more than 100 percent of their financing allotments by using unspent funds left over from previous years.

Voucher funds expense rates amongst MTW companies are historically much lower, on typical, than amongst other firms. The average expenditure rate amongst non-MTW agencies was 102 percent in 2016 and 2017, but just 88 percent among MTW companies, for example, and MTW firms gotten $775 million in voucher help funds over the two-year duration that they either did not invest or invested on other activities, such as program administration, homeowner services, or housing rehab or development. (MTW firms are permitted to get waivers of numerous program rules, consisting of the rules that financing be spent on real estate vouchers.) As a result, MTW firms provide real estate assistance to tens of thousands less households than they might with the funds they gotten. For additional discussion, see Will Fischer, “New Report Reinforces Issues About HUD’s Moving to Work Demonstration,” Center on Budget and Policy Concerns, October 30, 2017, https://www.

[8] In 2016 and 2017, for example, California housing firms spent 101 percent of the coupon help funds they got, compared to about 102 percent nationally. These figures do not consist of information for the 39 agencies (seven of which are in California) getting involved in the Moving to Work demonstration.

[9] An essential element contributing to the extremely high coupon funds expenditure rate is the fact that most families utilizing coupons gotten their coupons in prior years and continue to rent from the exact same property manager. Low success rates impact only households that have simply got a coupon. In addition, HUD is licensed to lower renewal financing allotments at firms that develop up excess reserves of unspent funds, effectively forcing agencies to invest these reserves to restore help and improving the program’s funds expenditure rate.

[10] These figures do not consist of agencies getting involved in the MTW presentation. Almost 1,300 non-MTW agencies spent more than 100 percent of the funds they got in 2017 by costs down reserves of unspent funds left over from previous years. Agencies were forced to rely on funding reserves due to the fact that the renewal funding that Congress provided under the financial year 2017 appropriations law was 3 percent less than agencies needed according to the formula that HUD utilizes, which computes renewal funding eligibility based on real voucher usage and expenses in the prior year, changed for inflation and other factors.

[11] For instance, rental vacancy rates in the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver city areas have hovered around 4 to 5 percent in recent years, according to Census surveys, which is comparable to the rate in the New York City metro location, https://www.

[12] Finkel and Buron, op. cit.

[13] Linda Pistilli, Study on Section 8 Coupon Success Rates Volume II: Qualitative Study of Five Rural Areas, Department of Real estate and Urban Development, 2001, https://www. pdf.

[14] There is proof that some owners refuse to lease to coupon holders as a pretext for discriminating against groups of people that are safeguarded under the Fair Real Estate Act. Owners of housing developed with Low Income Real Estate Tax Credits or other federal aids might not discriminate versus coupon holders, even if no local law prohibits such discrimination.

[15] Mary K C unningham et al., “A Pilot Study of Property owner Acceptance of Real estate Choice Vouchers,” Urban Institute, August 20, 2018, https://www.

[16] Bell et al., op. cit.

[17] More detailed and comprehensive discussions of these and other techniques are offered in: Finkel and Buron, op. cit.; Meryl Finkel et al., “Costs and Utilization in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Department of Real estate and Urban Advancement, 2003, https://www. pdf; “Dialogue with Amy Ginger, HUD D irector of Housing Coupon Program, on How to Enhance Real Estate Coupon Utilization,” April 6, 2016, https://www. pdf; and the assistance on improving success rates and utilization that HUD offers at https://www. For a discussion of strategies to help families to locate in low-poverty locations with quality schools and other chances, see Barbara Sard et al., “Federal Policy Modifications Can Help More Households with Housing Vouchers Live in Higher-Opportunity Locations,” Center on Budget and Policy Top Priorities, September 4, 2018, https://www.

[18] In general, real estate agencies can use admissions preferences to bring in tenants who are most likely to advantage from relevant services that partner organizations supply, and thus bring partner organizations to the table. In this method, companies can take advantage of assistance services for occupants through their usage of admissions preferences. See Jeffrey M. Lubell, Kathryn P. Nelson, and Barbara Sard, “How Real Estate Programs’ Admissions Policies Can Contribute to Welfare Reform,” in A Location to Live, a Way to Work, Fannie Mae Foundation, 2003.

[19] Philip Garboden et al., “Urban Landlords and the Housing Option Voucher Program: A R esearch Report,” Department of Real estate and Urban Advancement, May 2018, https://www.

[20] Voucher payment requirements, which vary by unit bed room number, are the maximum lease that a coupon subsidy will cover. If families select systems that rent above the payment standard, then they should pay the distinction, in addition to the 30 percent of adjusted household income that they typically pay already. Housing firms have discretion to set payment requirements at 90 to 110 percent of the Fair Market Lease (FMR), although they can ask HUD to set them above 110 percent of FMR. They may likewise usage Little Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) in higher-rent zip codes, or usage SAFMRs in every zip code with HUD’s consent. (A little number of companies are required to use SAFMRs in every zip code.) See “A Guide to Small Area Fair Market Leas (SAFMRs): How State and Local Housing Agencies Can Expand Opportunity for Households in All City Areas,” Center on Spending plan and Policy Top Priorities, May 4, 2018, https://www.

[21] See “Policy Basics: Project-Based Vouchers,” Center on Budget and Policy Top Priorities, https://www. Relating to real estate for individuals with special needs, see Ehren Dohler et al., “Supportive Real Estate Assists Susceptible Individuals Live and Grow in the Community,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 31, 2016, https://www.

[22] As noted above, see “Housing Voucher Success and Utilization Indicators, and Comprehending Usage Information” for further detail on terms.

[23] See, for example, the 2018 Notice of Funding Availability for new mainstream vouchers, https://www.

[24] See Ginger interview, op cit.

[25] HUD tracks voucher and voucher funds utilization as part of SEMAP. In recent years, HUD has regularly examined these information to identify agencies that are underutilizing funds, and offered them technical assistance intended mostly at improving funds management, such as assisting them track the expenditures of assistance funds and remaining balances of available funds more precisely, and adjusting coupon issuances to usage offered funds more efficiently to help households. Regarding the new HUD job force, see “HUD Launches Campaign to Boost Property Manager Approval of Housing Vouchers,” Department of Real estate and Urban Advancement press release, August 20, 2018, https://www.

[26] States and localities ought to also do more, particularly in areas where markets are tight or success rates tend to be low for other reasons. More states need to enact laws restricting discrimination against homes utilizing coupons, for example. Currently, just 34 percent of homes with housing coupons live in jurisdictions with defenses against discrimination by landlords, in spite of the growing body of proof indicating that such laws significantly boost the program’s effectiveness. See Bell et al., op. cit. Learning from examples in Illinois and Virginia, states and areas can also deal targeted tax or other incentives to proprietors to accept real estate coupons — for circumstances, rewards targeted to property owners in high-opportunity areas where coupons might be harder to use. Mary K. Cunningham, “To boost real estate choice, try incentivizing landlords,” Urban Institute, September 15, 2016, https://www.