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The District of Columbia Housing Authority increased the amount it can pay a landlord in monthly rent to provide its Housing Choice Voucher Program customers more choice and flexibility in their housing.

“Our families have fewer affordable housing options available to them now than they did just a few years ago,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman. “This increase will allow them to have more choice and move to more areas of the city, to different school districts, and closer to their jobs.”

Using the authority’s flexibility as a Moving to Work agency, DCHA increased the payment standard from 110 percent of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair market rent to 130 percent. HUD’s fair market rent is set at the 40th percentile of a local housing market’s average rent including utilities, a national standard. D.C.’s local housing market includes Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria, bringing the average down. Without the Moving to Work status, a housing authority is limited to capping payments to between 90 percent to 110 percent of a HUD fair market rent. DCHA’s Board of Commissioners traditionally set the rent payments at the highest cap of 110 percent because this is a high rent area.

There are a total of 53 rental submarkets in the District, according to HUD calculations. Before this increase, DCHA customers could only afford to rent in 15 of those submarkets. Now HCVP customers will be able to live in 26.

“Property owners also benefit from the board’s action,” said Terri Thompson, DCHA Board of Commissioners chairman. “Now they will be able to charge a rent that reflects what they can get in the open rental market.”

DCHA will begin an outreach effort to attract new landlords to the program and to educate current customers about the new opportunity this spring.

“Landlords in these areas are not used to receiving vouchers and do not know the benefits of our program yet,” said HCVP Director Ronald McCoy. “Plus, we want to help our clients succeed, so we will tell them about the schools, transportation options, and screening criteria for new rental properties to better inform their decisions.”

Any additional costs will be managed through streamlining administrative procedures, McCoy said. 

Last modified: 3/11/2015 3:47:48 PM