HUD has released its final rule applying the use of Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) in administering the Section 8 voucher program. The goal of the rule is to help voucher holders access high-opportunity neighborhoods by providing increased rental assistance in zip codes with higher rents. The Small Area FMR approach is required for 24 metropolitan areas and optional for public housing agencies (PHAs) in other metropolitan areas. In its final rule, HUD made many of the improvements that Enterprise and the High-Cost Cities Housing Forum provided in comment letters submitted in August, including: (1) a minimum threshold for rental vacancy rates, (2) authority for PHAs to hold harmless current voucher holders, (3) limits on the drop in payment standard in a particular neighborhood, and (4) an exemption for current and future project-based vouchers.
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