The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that new Section 8 rules would not apply to cities with vacancy rates below 4%, including New York City, which has a 3.45% vacancy rate, Politico reports.
The new proposal is called “Small Area Fair Market Rent,” and the idea is to base the value of Section 8 housing vouchers on average rents across zip codes instead of across whole metropolitan areas, which is how the system currently works. Theoretically, anchoring vouchers to zip codes would increase the size of vouchers for more expensive codes, allowing more voucher-holders to move into these zip codes, reducing housing segregation.
The problem with “Small Area Fair Market Rent” and New York City is that housing is just too limited here, so that even if their vouchers are worth more, holders won’t have the opportunity to use then.
Instead, the rule would likely just affect voucher-holders who live in areas with below average rents, decreasing their voucher size and forcing them to pay more for their rent. They could also move, of course, but that brings us back to the initial problem of limited housing in New York City.