Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eliminating Veterans Homelessness in San Francisco: Are 132% of Fair Market Rents Sustainable for Other Groups?

Even though I am a veteran, I haven't followed closely the different measures that are being taken to eliminate veterans homelessness in various cities across the U.S., including Portland. 

I did note however that San Francisco has recently announced that they got a HUD waiver to allow them to use a different payment standard for the VASH supportive housing program. 

The new VASH SF payment standard will be based on "120% of the 50% percentile" rent. 

The table below helps illustrate what the payment standard would be using FY 2015 proposed fair market rents for San Francisco and FY 2015 50% percentile rents.  [I show all BR sizes in table, not clear if SF waiver is limited to just studio and 1 BR apartments; I don't yet see FY 2016 50% percentile rents, but don't anticipate that they would significantly change these results]


  • VASH payment standards can be as high as 132% of FMR in San Francisco. 
  • SF VASH payment standards for a 1 BR apartment can be as high as $2,153 vs $1,635 at the Fair Market Rent level--a difference of $518 per month. 
  • For veterans with families using VASH, the 2 BR VASH payment standard of $2,716 is $654 more than the FMR of $2,062. 
While I think it is laudable to set a goal of eliminating veterans homelessness AND to then  achieve that goal, I am not sure that the costs of doing so are sustainable for other target subgroups (families with children etc).

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

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