HUD Launches Campaign to Boost Landlord Acceptance of Housing Vouchers
HUD recently announced a new task force aimed at boosting landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program. HUD’s HCV program is the nation’s largest rental subsidy program, assisting more than two million low-income households each year. The announcement comes on the heels of recent studies commissioned by HUD from the Urban Institute and Johns Hopkins highlighting issues within the HCV program that leave more than 10 percent of vouchers nationally unused each year.
HCVs, funded by HUD and administered by local PHAs, are given to households earning up to 50 percent of local median incomes, to cover the difference between 30 percent of the household’s income and open market rents charged by landlords. Because they are allocated to individual households rather than linked to specific units or properties, HCVs give low-income households choice about where to live, which increases their ability to access high-opportunity neighborhoods with better schools, less crime, and more services. The program also leverages privately owned housing to help fill gaps in the affordable housing supply across the country, while reducing the concentration of poverty that contributed to the failure of many public housing and project-based housing assistance programs.
Yet, despite eligibility for vouchers outstripping supply by a factor of four, and years’-long waitlists of millions of low-income households hoping for their chance, nationwide less than 90 percent of HCVs are successfully used each year, with even lower utilization rates reported by PHAs in some cities and counties.
To encourage more landlords and property managers to participate in the HCV program, HUD’s new Landlord Task Force will host a number of forums across the country to engage directly with housing providers, specifically those who don’t participate in the voucher program. These listening forums are intended to reveal how HUD might make its primary rent subsidy program more accessible and acceptable, specifically in higher opportunity neighborhoods where landlord participation is lowest. After completing these landlord forums, the Landlord Task Force will provide policy recommendations to the Secretary on programmatic changes to increase landlord participation in the HCV program.