The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s voucher customers have more options when it comes to choosing where they live.

The DCHA Board of Commissioners approved to keep its payment standards at 175 percent of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair market rent in an effort to keep up with the city’s rising rents. More than two years ago, the board approved a payment standard that was 130 percent of HUD’s fair market rent, which was increased to 175 percent in December 2016. The board’s action, taken at their March board meeting, approves the payment standard for one year and includes a six-month progress report to show a status of how many families have taken advantage of their ability to move into higher rent areas.

“Our voucher customers now have more choices in where to live in neighborhoods with greater opportunities for their families,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “This also allows even more customers to stay in their homes as rents continue to rise.”

The increase in the value of vouchers helps families move back into neighborhoods, like Shaw, where they were priced out just a few years ago. The board’s action allows some D.C. voucher customers to stay in their homes as rents increase. Some others can now afford to move to neighborhoods with more amenities.

DCHA was able to increase its payment standard to 175 percent of HUD’s fair market rent because of the authority’s flexibility as a Moving to Work agency, which allows DCHA to create housing solutions that match the local area.

There are a total of 57 rental submarkets or neighborhoods in the District. With the board’s 2018 vote, voucher customers will be able to live in 41 of those submarkets.

“We have been working with our customers to educate and introduce them to neighborhoods that we once could afford in our HALO (Housing Affordable Living Options) program,” said Housing Choice Voucher Program Director Ronald McCoy. “We show them the schools and other amenities in the area. We also provide counseling to prepare them with credit checks, security deposits, and other screening criteria landlords may have for prospective tenants.”

This vote also benefits property owners because they will be able to charge rents for new move-ins that are more in line with what they can get in the open market. Many landlords in high rent areas are not used to receiving families with vouchers and are unaware of the benefits. Much like the education campaign for residents, DCHA representatives also have been meeting with landlords to explain the program, the advantages of being a voucher landlord, and the procedures they must follow to participate.

DCHA will continue its outreach effort to attract new landlords to the program and to educate current customers about the new opportunity areas made affordable by this DCHA board action.


Last modified: 4/19/2018 11:29:26 AM